The Department of Health has kept structures in place that are dedicated to the impact of the UK leaving the EU, despite the recent ‘Brexit’ deal, the Medical Independent (MI) has been told.
The Department established dedicated structures to respond to Brexit in 2019, which brought together relevant units across the Department and other agencies.
These structures have been maintained, a Department spokesperson told MI.
The spokesperson said regular meetings were held throughout 2020 and that these would continue in 2021, despite the ongoing Covid crisis and the trade deal negotiated between the UK and the EU in December
“The frequency of meetings increased in late 2020 as the end of the transition period approached and colleagues across the Department of Health will continue to work together with the HSE and other agencies to respond to Brexit-related issues in the health sector.”
The spokesperson added that the Department also continues to feed into wider cross-Government work on Brexit.
The impact of Brexit remains one of the 26 risks outlined in the HSE’s most recent corporate risk register. The register is dated October 2020 (prior to the trade deal between the UK and EU) and was approved by the HSE board at its December meeting.
“There is a risk of threats to business continuity for critical goods and services, leading to harm to patients and service users as a result of there not being an agreed trade deal post Brexit and any impact that Covid-19 will have on this risk,” according to the document seen by MI.