Brexit: Scots NHS staffing and food security fears raised by MSPs

The Scottish Government is being urged to set out its preparedness for Brexit amid growing concerns over a risk to medicines, NHS staffing and food security.

MSPs are seeking answers from Jeane Freeman

MSPs on Holyrood's health committee have sent a letter to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman seeking answers following the publication of the Operation Yellowhammer document by the UK Government which set out the potential scenarios in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

Committee convener Lewis Macdonald said: “The Committee has been closely monitoring developments regarding the potential impact of Brexit upon the health and social care sector in Scotland.

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"The Operation Yellowhammer document highlighted a number of risks to health and social care services, and threats to water and medicine supplies.

“We’ve written to the Scottish Government as we seek to find out the extent of their preparations for any of the possible scenarios a no deal exit could trigger.”

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Ms Freeman is being urged to set out what work is being undertaken with health boards across Scotland to ensure the NHS and social care will "continue safely" in the face of potential staff shortages if freedom of movement ends.

Concerns are also raised about the impact of UK nationals returning home from EU states to access the NHS if "bilateral arrangements" on healthcare are ended.

The Operation Yellowhammer document, published in August, also warned that the supply chain of medicines will be "vulnerable to delays" and many cannot be stockplied. MSPs now want to know what discussions have taken place between Ms Freeman and UK ministers to arrange contingency plans in this area.

Mr Macdonald also calls for a "more general update" on SG’s exit preparations post-Operation Yellowhammer looking at risk, mitigating these risks and what support is being provided to "public bodies, EU citizens residing in Scotland and businesses" in the event of a no-deal scenario.