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Emergency medical supplies could be airlifted into UK after Brexit
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Emergency medical supplies could be airlifted into UK after Brexit
An "express" freight service will be set up in an effort to ensure the UK does not run out of essential medical supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  Supplies could be airlifted into Britain, under the plans, which aim to prepare for all eventualities. Health officials have invited bids to tender for a 12 month contract to deliver emergency medicines and short-life treatments within 24 hours. The £25m contract is part of contingency efforts to ensure continuity of medical supplies, including time-sensitive, temperature-controlled goods.  The Health Secretary has previously said flights will be used to bring medical supplies to Britain, if there is a risk of shortages.  But officials said any mode of transport can bid for the contract, as long as it can meet the requirements, which aim to get small parcels of medicines to the UK within 24 hours, and larger deliveries within four days.  Health Minister Chris Skidmore said: “I want to ensure that when we leave the EU at the end of October, all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure frontline services are fully prepared. “That’s why we are stepping up preparations and strengthening our already extremely resilient contingency plans.  “This express freight service sends a clear message to the public that our plans should ensure supply of medical goods remains uninterrupted as we leave the EU.” "It is crucial we deliver the best possible preparations for the health and care system. With the ability to deliver medicine and medical products into the UK within 24 to 72 hours, the express freight service will ensure frontline services are fully preparing as we leave the EU on 31 October, whatever the circumstances.” The Department of Health and Social Care said it only expects to pay £4m of the costs, with the rest paid by suppliers. The contract could be extended for a further year, if required.  Mark Dayan, policy analyst at the Nuffield Trust, said: “Preparations to fly urgent medical supplies into the UK for a year after a no deal Brexit show the scale of disruption the Government is preparing for.” And he said any delays at customs could mean time-sensitive medical supplies become useless.
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