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EU Exit and Primary Care

Brexit puzzle

The Government has reached an agreement on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The following information provides more detail on the agreement and what it means for primary care. 

A letter from the Minister of State for Health following the agreement between the UK and the EU; 

A follow-up letter from Professor Keith Willett; and

Key messages to assist with any queries regarding medicines, vaccines, workforce, personal data, reciprocal healthcare, etc. 


Supplier work is being coordinated nationally – no stockpiling will be needed so follow BAU processes. Practices are urged not to provide long prescriptions, even if requested by patients. Promote use of electronic repeat dispensing.

Escalate shortages to the CCG, and ensure you can quickly cascade messages to staff. Ensure you are signed up to CAS alerts. 

The government is working to secure different routes into the UK for imports of supplies, and pharmacies are working to prepare ahead of the end of transition. 


Assure any EU staff they are welcome and make a very important contribution to health and social care services.  EU Settlement Scheme has already been widely promoted and access to it continues until June 2021. Encourage staff to progress their application for settled or pre-settled status. 

NHSEI is developing resources to support staff to myth bust on validity of qualifications and continuity of contracts


MHRA has taken on responsibilities for certifying medical devices that are currently undertaken through the EU system from 1st January 2021. 

Overseas Visitors

A new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will be available from the new year in recognition of the new agreement with the EU. This will replace the EHIC.

The agreement the Government has reached with the EU ensures that UK residents will continue to have access to emergency and necessary healthcare cover when they travel to the EU. This will operate like the current EHIC scheme.

However, people will still be able to use their EHIC after 1 January when travelling to the EU. Current cards will remain valid until their expiry date.

Everyone is urged to take out travel insurance when travelling outside of the UK. 

Traffic Issues and Ports

These have been planned for and addressed with maximum anticipated delays of two days. There is a potential issue with absenteeism among port or border staff with Covid-19. 

Key Messages for Primary Care 

  1. Understand your escalation routes to your CCG
  2. Prescribe and dispense as normal
  3. Ensure you are signed up to CAS alerts and can communicate with key staff quickly on supply disruption
  4. Consider your supply chain e.g. will you need to order products earlier? 
  5. Register patients as normal (some changes may come on eligibility of care)
  6. Promote electronic repeat dispensing. 
  7. Encourage patients to take out travel insurance before travelling to the EU as their EHIC might not be valid. 
  8. Encourage EU nationals working in your practice to register with the EU Settlement Scheme. 

Further Guidance

NHS England - EU Exit

BMA and Brexit







Updated on Tuesday, 5 January 2021, 580 views

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