• Trust considering installing CCTV to address heightened risk

Hospitals have warned that a no-deal Brexit could put their pharmacies at increased risk of burglary, as concerns about drug shortages mount.

London North West University Hospitals Trusts, which runs three major hospitals, said it was considering installing CCTV in its pharmacy departments in response to an “increased risk of burglary”.

The warning came in a trust report on its contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit. HSJ asked the trust why it thought there was an increased risk but it would not respond.

The paper said it had also set a policy for “patients anxious to obtain medicines request[ing] doctors prescribe in clinic”.

The £700m-turnover organisation said it would purchase “unlicensed medicine” if licensed products became unavailable, and “specialist couriers” would be put in place “to manage cold chain items”.

A memorandum of understanding is being put in place with other trusts in north west London to share “vital medicines” if any provider runs out.

The news comes after health and social care secretary Matt Hancock on Monday told the Parliamentary health committee that medicine would be prioritised over food in the event of a no-deal Brexit disrupting imports.

Mr Hancock said a significant part of the pharmaceutical supply chain for the NHS came via the EU in some form but that pharma companies had stepped up to the challenge of stockpiling so far.

LNWH also considered whether patients might come to accident and emergency after being “unable to obtain their medicines from the community pharmacy”.

The trust said its suppliers of medical devices had already written to its Brexit lead to confirm the contingency measures they are taking, including “opening extra storage facilities in [the] UK for extra stock” and “considering alternative shipping routes”.

A string of other trusts, including Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust, have also raised warnings about the potential consequences of a no-deal Brexit