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With 37 days to go before the UK leaves the European Union, the Department of Health and Social Care has so far spent £11m on no-deal contingency planning.
That’s according to health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, who also told Parliament on Tuesday he is confident the supply of medicines and devices to the NHS “will be unhindered” by a no-deal Brexit – provided “everyone does what they need to do”.
To realise Mr Hancock’s reassurances, the DHSC has – as part of its contingency planning – set up a “logistics hub” in Belgium (although the department has so far not specified precisely where) from which goods can be shipped on special routes to the UK.
The DHSC is now asking suppliers to register for the scheme, in a bid to help companies mitigate “severe disruption” to their supply chains – for example, caused by lengthy queues at ports.
The logistics hub, which includes a distribution centre, will be operated by DHL but controlled by the DHSC.
The German company has 13 years of experience of delivering NHS supplies to hospital trusts. It ran the NHS Supply Chain service between 2006 and 2018, although it lost the contract for Supply Chain’s logistics service (worth £730m) to Unipart last autumn.
But fans of poultry-based fast food may also recall the firm hitting the headlines in a less favourable fashion last February, when it was blamed for causing a chicken shortage for KFC.
Work life balance
A fortnight ago, HSJ reported a group of four MPs – three Conservative, one Labour – had raised concerns over the reappointment of the Dudley Group Foundation Trust’s chair Jenni Ord.
Ms Ord had had her tenure extended for three years, but the MPs were concerned this had happened while the findings of an investigation into whistleblowing claims made against some of its executive board members had not yet been made public.
Late on Tuesday, Ms Ord’s resignation was announced.
Ms Ord’s parting statement did not directly reference the MPs concerns, and the trust said she was leaving to pursue a “better work life balance”.