Guidance

Actions for adult social care providers and local authorities to prepare for Brexit

What adult social care providers and local authorities need to do to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

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This guidance sets out the actions you should take before and after Brexit, to plan for and help manage any potential service disruption to adult social care if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

This guidance is for adult social care providers and local authorities. Guidance for healthcare providers is available in the Planning for a no-deal Brexit: information for the health and care sector collection.

Supply of medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables

The government is working directly with suppliers and pharmaceutical companies to make sure there is a continued supply of medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables when the UK leaves the EU.

You should not stockpile any medicines, medical devices or clinical consumables. Stockpiling could cause shortages in other areas and put service users at risk.

The NHS website has information for the public on getting medicines after a no-deal Brexit.

To help address any local supply issues, you should take the following actions before the UK leaves the EU:

  • if your organisation currently relies on receiving products from the EU with short lead times of 24 to 48 hours, plan for longer lead times of up to 5 days
  • make sure you are prepared to receive stock deliveries outside normal hours

Read more about what businesses supplying medicines and medical devices should do to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services

Non-clinical goods and services include:

  • IT service agreements and infrastructure
  • waste management
  • facilities management
  • service maintenance contracts
  • laundry services
  • food and catering

Make sure you have included any risks and issues associated with the supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services in your business continuity plan and/or contingency plan.

The government is working with suppliers, providers and local authorities across the adult social care sector to support the continuity of supply of non-clinical goods and services.

Equipment

If you have any equipment or machinery with parts that are sourced from the EU, work with your suppliers to understand any potential delays and ensure you are up to date on routine maintenance.

Find out if your local area has plans in place to offer support if a piece of equipment fails.

Food

If we leave the EU without a deal, there will not be an overall shortage of food in the UK. However, there may be reduced availability and choice of certain food products, including some of the fresh produce that we import from the EU.

Providers are used to dealing with seasonal variations and short-term shortages for food items and we recommend taking a common sense approach to flexible menu planning.

The food you serve instead should still provide a balanced diet that follows the government’s nutrition guidance. Remember to consider special dietary requirements and allergies in any food substitution plans.

Contact your local resilience forum representative if you have any concerns.

Business continuity plans

Review your business continuity or contingency plans regularly. Make sure they are up to date and consistent with other local contingency plans, in particular those being developed by your local resilience forum.

Make sure you also have plans in place for the months following Brexit, to ensure continuity of care for service users.

The Care Provider Alliance has issued an ‘EU Exit Contingency Plan’ template for use by adult social care providers.

How to prepare with suppliers now

Make plans that cover all the supplies you use – from machinery to linen, food and medicine:

  • find out what contingency plans your suppliers have in place
  • review supply contracts to identify potential Brexit issues – take legal advice if necessary
  • think about how you might use different suppliers if you need to
  • include suppliers in your planning
  • consider changing your service level agreements where necessary – you could temporarily stop using specific performance measures to allow suppliers to keep up supply, for example through substituting products

DHSC recommends that you ask for evidence of additional costs to back up any supplier requests to increase prices because of Brexit.

Workforce

You should review your capacity and activity plans regularly. Your business continuity plans should cover the supply of staff you need to deliver services before and after Brexit.

Make sure you tell any staff and people you care for who are EU citizens about the EU Settlement Scheme. Help them apply if they need support. Use the EU Settlement Scheme employer toolkit for practical advice on helping your employees to apply.

There will be no need for any changes to existing EU staff employment contracts after Brexit, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You must notify your local commissioner, director of adult social services and the Care Quality Commission as soon as possible if there is any risk to service delivery.

The EU Settlement Scheme

Through the EU Settlement Scheme, EU nationals can register for settled status if they have been in the UK for 5 years, or pre-settled status if they have been here for less than 5 years.

The scheme is free and it’s simple to register. The deadline for applications is 31 December 2020 if there is a no-deal Brexit, or 30 June 2021 if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

Find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme

Irish citizens are not required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, although there are some circumstances where they may wish to. Non-Irish family members of Irish citizens will need to apply.

Recognition of professional qualifications

Some staff have expressed concern about whether their professional qualifications will still be recognised if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

On 7 March 2019 the government put in place legislation to ensure that professional qualifications from institutions in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland will still be recognised by all professional regulators in the health and social care sectors when the UK leaves the EU, including:

  • the Health and Care Professions Council
  • the General Medical Council
  • the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • the General Pharmaceutical Council
  • the General Dental Council

This means health and care staff from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who are currently practising in the UK can continue to do so.

For any professional registration queries, please contact the relevant professional regulator.

Data sharing, processing and access

Currently, personal data can be transferred freely between the UK and the EU and other ‘adequate countries’ (countries that the EU defines as having an adequate level of data protection).

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the transfer of personal data from the EU and other adequate countries to the UK may be restricted.

Check whether your organisation relies on transfers of personal data from the EU or other adequate countries to the UK.

Focus on data that is critical to service delivery, and data that would have a serious impact if it was disrupted.

If your data may be affected, you will need to put in place alternative arrangements to ensure continued protection and exchange of personal data.

Check the advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office, NHS England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government on data protection if we leave the EU without a deal.

Help and who to contact

Help with supply of medicines and vaccines

You should continue to manage medicine and vaccine supply issues in the usual way.

If you are concerned about any supply issues, whether or not they are related to Brexit, report them through your community pharmacist.

If you experience disruption to your supplies after exit day then contact the National Supply Disruption Response centre (NSDR).

Help with supply of medical devices, clinical consumables and non-clinical goods and services

Start by following your usual processes. Check with your supplier or, where relevant, with other teams in your organisation.

Consider if alternative products are available.

If this does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, or if you have any other concerns around the supply of medical devices, clinical consumables, and non-clinical goods and services, contact your Director of Adult Social Services, relevant local authority EU Exit leads, or talk to your Local Resilience Forum.

If you experience disruption to your supplies after exit day, contact the National Supply Disruption Response centre (NSDR).

If at any stage disruption to the supply of medical devices, clinical consumables and/or non-clinical goods and services poses a risk to service delivery, it is important to notify your local commissioner, director of adult social services and the Care Quality Commission as soon as possible.

Help with developing business continuity and contingency plans

If you need support in developing a business continuity plan or contingency plan, contact your director of adult social services, relevant contacts within your local authority, or your local care association.

Make contacts across your local area to share best practice. These could include trade bodies, your local Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, NHS partners, local care associations and relevant local government contacts such as local authority Brexit lead officers.

Attend any local or regional events that give guidance and support to the adult social care sector on preparing for Brexit.

Help with workforce queries

Raise any capacity and resourcing concerns in the usual way. It is important to notify your local commissioner, director of adult social services and the Care Quality Commission as soon as possible if there is any risk to service delivery.

You can also send Brexit-related workforce queries to WorkforceEUExit@dhsc.gov.uk.

National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR)

After exit day, if you experience disruption to your supplies or you feel there is potential for disruption to social care services and no immediate resolution is available, you can report it to the NSDR. Contact details for NSDR will be shared before the UK leaves the EU. If you don’t have the phone number then, follow your business as usual escalation procedures or contact your suppliers.

The NSDR can help with disruption to the supply of medicines and vaccines, medical devices and clinical consumables that normal procedures can’t resolve.

It doesn’t matter whether the disruption is related to Brexit or not.

You should have the following information available when contacting the NSDR:

  • details of the disruption and causes
  • anticipated disruption and causes
  • products or services affected
  • how important these products or services are in providing social care
  • potential alternative products or service providers
  • the likely impact of the disruption
  • how many providers and/or people in care could be affected (by region or country where applicable)

Contact local care associations

Published 12 August 2019
Last updated 23 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Information added on measures to take regarding equipment, food, working with suppliers and making contacts in your local area, taken from the letter sent to the adult social care industry in October 2019.
  2. Added link to NHS website guidance for the public on getting medicines if there is a no-deal Brexit.
  3. Added contact information for local care associations.
  4. First published.