There has been a lower than expected level of disruption to the medicines supply chain since the end of the withdrawal period on January 1, the DHSC has told drug suppliers.
In a March 31 letter, DHSC chief commercial officer Steve Oldfield told suppliers: “While there have been isolated, often complex incidents of disruption since 1 January, we have not seen the level of disruption to supply that underpinned our planning assumptions.
“We must maintain current levels of preparedness for some months yet, as part of our shared goal of ensuring patient safety through resilient supply chains.”
Mr Oldfield said the “growing third wave” of Covid-19 in Europe could lead to supply chain disruptions, adding that the potential impact “is hard to anticipate and mitigate against, though we are doing so where possible”.
“For these reasons, the department has asked NHS Supply Chain to maintain contingency stock for medical devices and clinical consumables in the centralised stock build (CSB) for the foreseeable future, and we strongly encourage you to continue to hold your UK stockpiles, where these have been built and remain.”
These contingency measures will be subject to departmental review with new recommendations to be published in the summer, Mr Oldfield said.
He urged suppliers to inform the relevant DHSC teams of any supply issues, shortages or discontinuations, and said the department is “aware of the challenges to supply into Northern Ireland from January 1 2022” and is seeking to address these.