“Stockpiling is not a plan”: Activists’ stunt shames government over hard Brexit risk to NHS

"Brexit has officially moved the dial from government incompetence to government negligence” in threatening our NHS with a no-deal departure.

‘No deal’ Brexit sounds fairly abstract to most people. The notion of administrative delays for goods and higher tariffs is easy to ignore. So campaigners are trying new ways to point out the realities of a ‘no deal’ disaster. 

Department of Health and Social Care officials were greeted by mock medical stockpiles today, after activists from youth campaign Our Future, Our Choice (OFOC) tried to shine a light on the effects of a reckless exit.

Campaigners in doctor and nurse gowns handed handed civil servants medical supplies to use if the nation crashes out of Europe next March.

Health minister Matt Hancock announced last month that he plans to stockpile vital blood products and medicines in case of a no-deal Brexit.

But doctors and health professionals are already warning of an impending deficit of medicines, insulin, and blood reserves.

This week leaks revealed that the group representing hospitals and ambulance services in England – NHS Providers – has been warning of a lack of “contingency planning” to deal with the impact of a no-deal Brexit on our health service.

An email to the NHS England boss from NHS Providers shows leaving the EU without an agreement would immediately be a real risk to services, the BBC reported.

OFOC campaigners are sounding the alarm: dressed in medical garb, they stacked 50 to 100 cardboard boxes of labeled supplies, crates, and stethoscopes, to call on health minister Matt Hancock and the government to avert a hard Brexit – and give voters the chance to think again.

OFOC co-founder and chief spokesperson Femi Oluwole said:

“The government’s plan is for Great Britain to ‘Stockpile and Survive’ during a no deal, which is to say – there is no plan at all.

“If the government isn’t going to say no to no-deal Brexit, then OFOC is here to help with the medical supplies the nation needs.”

The first of the government’s no deal impact studies are due to be published on Thursday.

OFOC are mocking the ‘deceptions and mistruths’ being spread by Brexiters – attempting to convince Britain that crashing out of the EU won’t have consequences.

OFOC co-president Lara Spirit said:

“Civil servants at the Department of Health and Social Care may fear that this government is going to leave them to the mercy of extremist Brexiters like Jacob-Rees Mogg, the ERG, and the recently-returned Nigel Farage. And they are right to be afraid.”

Labour MP Darren Jones MP – a supporter of Best for Britain – said:

“Every hospital up and down the country is facing a Brexit catastrophe as no deal threatens the NHS.

“How on earth we’ve ended up in a situation where the government needs to ensure Britain is fully prepared to protect the lives of patients relying on vital medicines in this way is quite beyond me. Brexit has officially moved the dial from government incompetence to government negligence.”

“This shows, starkly, why we need a peoples vote on the final Brexit deal.”

The ‘just in time’ supply routes ferrying medical supplies from the EU to the UK are at real risk from a reckless Brexit.

Hats off to OFOC for a ‘crate’ effort today… [I’ll get back in my box – Ed]. 

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

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