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NHS: Drugs

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL1599, tabled on 12 February 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the availability of medical supplies following the outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus and the closure of manufacturing facilities in China; and what contingencies they have in place in the event of any shortages of supplies.

Answered on

26 February 2020

The National Health Service and wider health system are extremely well prepared for these types of outbreaks and follow tried and tested procedures of the highest standards to protect staff, patients and the public. The Department has stepped up its efforts to assess risks to the availability of medical supplies and put in place contingencies to help ensure uninterrupted supply.

These efforts have included:

- a response group has been established to evaluate the potential impacts of this situation on continuity of supply of medical goods;

- asking suppliers to conduct a full risk assessment of the impact of the situation on their supply chains;

- requesting that suppliers who still retain some or all of their European Union exit stockpiles, should hold on to them, while the Department considers more targeted approaches;

- directing NHS Supply Chain to pause ramp-down activity of the centralised stock-build of medical devices and clinical consumables; and

- contacting all known medical suppliers trading from or via China.

Working closely with industry, the NHS and others in the supply chain, we continue to monitor the situation to help prevent shortages and minimise the risks to patients.