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People on medications: Brexit worries

Everybody works with someone who is taking medication of some sort. You just might not know about it.

One worry about Brexit is any disruption to the way medications get into the UK and are available to people. More than 60% of medications come into the UK from or through the EU.

It’s something we’ve heard about from various people in different companies, who take medications for a wide range of physical and mental health issues. So we thought it would be handy to set out some advice here and helpful links.

Stockpiling plans and other contingency arrangements won’t cover everything. Some medications, including cancer treatments, cannot be stockpiled because of their short shelf-lives. The contingency plans include trying to arrange alternatives to avoid delays, including air freight deliveries, if the supply chain is disrupted.

For mental health, the concerns we’ve heard are about behavioural changes if there is a glitch in obtaining them – and this includes from people who are worried their mental stability may be affected and, in some cases, are concerned about sharing details of their health concerns with their employers and colleagues.

Please be sensitive about discussing these issues with people you work with – it’s their health and not your business. Be extra sensitive about raising it if the employee hasn’t chosen to discuss it with you, for example if you suspect any change in behaviour might be connected to this, or you hear “on the grapevine” about it.

It’s admirable to support people, of course, but don’t wade in without thinking and especially if you lack experience in having these sorts of conversations or understanding of the health issue involved.

Encourage people to discuss this with their doctors or pharmacists if they have concerned, and perhaps to check with any reliable sources of information about a specific health issue. For example, Diabetes UK provides useful updates about the availability of insulin.

The NHS has set out useful guidance here http://www.england.nhs.uk/eu-exit/medicines/medicines-faq/ and this might be helpful, if they are relevant to you or anyone you work with.

We’ll update any information here as the Brexit situation develops. We’ve also set out some advice about Europeans in the UK, UK citizens in European countries and travel between the UK and Europe which you can find here https://www.quickhr.biz/brexit-and-travel-between-uk-and-eu/.


By Brian



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