Addressing the challenges of a no deal Brexit takes place at a number of levels and requires responses at the EU level, responses by Government, responses by citizens and responses by businesses and affected sectors.
While extensive Brexit preparedness and contingency planning has already been undertaken across Government, it is only by working together with the healthcare sector, businesses and our citizens that we can aim to mitigate the impacts of a no deal Brexit and ensure that we are prepared to the greatest extent possible.
As part of our preparedness and contingency plans, the Government identified healthcare provision and supply of medicines as an area where people may have queries in relation to Brexit. Below is the latest information and advice for citizens on this issue.
Latest information and advice on gov.ie/Brexit
Ireland and the UK have a number of areas in the provision of healthcare where we are interconnected.
Some of our medicines are moved through the UK to get to Ireland. However, Ireland is unlikely to face general medicines supply issues in the period immediately post-Brexit, even in a no deal scenario.
Under the Common Travel Area, Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other state have the right to access healthcare there. Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining the current healthcare arrangements under the CTA. Other North South cooperation arrangements will also continue on the island of Ireland.
General medical supplies
The pharmaceutical industry and medicines wholesalers, who are working closely with Government in this area, are confident there are enough stocks of medicines in the country to manage any potential supply issues at ports. Medicines shortages occur from time to time, and there are already additional stocks of medicines routinely built into the Irish medicine supply chain to address shortages when they occur.
Anyone with an ongoing need for medicines should fill their prescription as normal. You do not need to order extra quantities of medicines or extra prescriptions ahead of Brexit. If you do, you could disrupt existing stock levels and hamper the supply of medicines for other patients.
If you have any concerns, please speak to your pharmacist.
Access to health services
Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other State will continue to have the right to access healthcare there. Government has introduced legislation to ensure these access arrangements can be maintained post-Brexit, even in the event of no deal. For more information on health related matters post-Brexit, please visit the Department of Health.
Cross border access to health services
Cross border health services (like the cardiology and cancer treatments in Altnagelvin, Derry and paediatric cardiology and maternity services in Dublin) are managed by service level agreements. Even in a no deal Brexit scenario, services like these can be expected to continue. Both the Irish and UK Governments are fully committed to continuing existing cross border arrangements.
Further information at gov.ie/brexit
Further information is available from www.gov.ie/brexit. This website is regularly updated with the latest developments so do check back regularly.
If you are living or working in Northern Ireland, you can find further information at www.gov.ie/brexitni.