Business Continuity Plans for Care Homes and Brexit

On 18th December 2018, the Permanent Secretary, Sir Chris Wormald, wrote to all adult social care providers in a letter entitled ‘Government’s preparations for a March 2019 ‘no deal’ scenario for adult social care’.  The letter from the Permanent Secretary can be found here.  

The letter encourages all Care Home Providers to update their Business Continuity Plans to ensure that they are robust and cover the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, with a potential ‘no deal’ exit.

The letter outlines some of the key areas where services should focus their plans including the workforce, supply of medicines and consumables, and supply of non-clinical consumable goods and services. Care Home Providers are advised however that they should not be stock piling medicines or medical consumables above their normal operational stock levels.

At the same time, the Permanent Secretary also published the ‘EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance’. A copy of this document can be found here.

There are seven key areas identified in this guidance where the government is focussing ‘no deal’ exit contingency planning in the health and care system, and where local action is required. These are:

  • Supply of medicines and vaccines
  • Supply of medical devices and clinical consumables
  • Supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services
  • Workforce
  • Reciprocal healthcare
  • Research and clinical trials
  • Data sharing, processing and access

The guidance document states to

Continue business continuity planning in line with your legal requirements under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, taking into account the EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance and any additional information. Organisational and system-wide plans should be completed at the latest by the end of January 2019.

All business continuity and incident management plans should be tested against the EU Exit risk assessment scenarios by the end of February to ensure these are fit for purpose.

Since then there have been two further updates. One on the 26th February 2019, which can be found here and the most recent on the 15th March 2019 which can be read here.

If, after the UK leaves the European Union, there are factors that affect a care home’s services, it is important that the care home is able to ensure the continuation of care and support by minimising the impact of any damage to the service users, staff, premises, equipment or records. Compliance will still need to be maintained with the Fundamental Standards. Care Home services therefore need to make sure that they are prepared.