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Diabetes UK and JDRF issue joint statement calling for concrete detail from government on access to insulin in event of no-deal Brexit


Diabetes UK has today issued a joint statement with the charity JDRF, re-stating with them our call on the UK Government to urgently provide concrete detail on its plans to ensure no interruption to the availability of insulin and other medical supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK and Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, have made the following statement:

“With just a matter of weeks between now and 29th March and, despite reaching out directly to the Department of Health and Social Care in December, we still have not seen the concrete detail needed to reassure us – or people with diabetes – that the UK Government’s plans are robust enough to guarantee no impact on insulin and medicine supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

“We are increasingly hearing from worried people who do not feel reassured by existing published guidance on this issue. With the information available to date, we feel unable to fully alleviate their concerns.  

“We want to reassure people but – based on the information currently available – we cannot say with confidence that people will be able to get the insulin and other medical supplies they need in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“Insulin is a life-saving necessity for hundreds of thousands of people with diabetes, and any delay or interruption to access would be incredibly dangerous. The UK Government must – with all urgency – produce the detail needed to reassure the public that it, and all relevant organisations involved in the smooth supply of insulin into the UK, have robust systems and agreements in place to ensure this supply in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

Diabetes UK wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock in December, and to Health Minister Stephen Hammond last week.

Diabetes UK and JDRF are making today’s statement as responses from the Secretary of State and the Minister have not yet provided the detail we believe is necessary to reassure people living with or affected by diabetes. 
Both Diabetes UK and JDRF have published information on their websites with the latest on Brexit, to answer the concerns people may have about access to insulin and other medical supplies. People with diabetes use other imported medications, technologies and consumables such as test strips, needles, and insulin pump and glucose monitoring cannulas, all of which are essential in diabetes management.

Diabetes UK has also developed a new contact form available specifically for people living with or affected by diabetes to report any difficulties accessing medicines and supplies relating to Brexit.

Update: 14/02/2019

Since publishing the story, we have had conversations at the highest levels within both the Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England. As a result of these conversations, we’ve had commitment both from the Department, and from NHS England, that both Diabetes UK and JDRF will be given the opportunity to view detailed plans in relation to continued supply of both insulin and other diabetes-related medical supplies. 

We’re encouraged by these new early developments and, as soon as these important meetings have taken place, we’ll update you all.

Update: 26/02/2019

Following a series of letters and public statements, we have had a meeting with senior officials with expertise in logistics and supplies of medicines and consumables at the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England.

This was a very encouraging discussion, and alongside the ministerial statement published yesterday and the recent reassurances from the insulin manufacturers, we feel more reassured about plans (FAQ from NHS England available here).

We want the Government and Secretary of State for Health to continue to ensure that information about progress is made available and we will continue to work with them to ensure this happens.

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