• No-deal Brexit teams at trust-level must be in place by end of August
  • NHS England to check all trusts’ preparedness
  • Regional workshops to be held in September 

NHS trusts have five weeks to make sure no-deal Brexit preparation teams are in place and that contingency plans have been tested, according to the latest NHS England guidance.

In a letter sent on Monday the regulator’s head of Brexit planning Keith Willett, trusts were told to have their Brexit teams “in post and ready” by the end of August ahead of the UK’s expected departure date from the union on 31 October.

At the end of August, NHSE will check that every organisation has complied with national preparation instructions.

In the guidance, NHSE said it expected trusts to have their no-deal Brexit teams in place “as soon as possible” to allow time for “training, exercising and testing”.

The teams should include staff such as senior executives and directors or lead managers from key areas such as pharmacy, estates, facilities and procurement.

After the regulator has checked on trusts’ plans at the end of August, regional events will be held in September. The guidance added these events will provide opportunities to “discuss further details of the operational response”, including “what is needed at a local level”.

Professor Willett’s letter comes in the same week as Boris Johnson took over as the country’s new prime minister. During his campaign to become the leader of the Conservative party, Mr Johnson repeatedly said the UK would leave the EU by 31 October, with or without a deal.

Trusts have already been through the process of creating detailed no-deal Brexit plans earlier this year, when the UK was initially set to leave on 29 March and then 12 April, before a longer extension was agreed.

Regional NHS Brexit-planning teams have also been established.