Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
This Government is committed to maintaining high-quality and safe health and social care in preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, with preparations taking place at a local, Wales and UK level. Today I am pleased to announce the acquisition of a warehouse in South East Wales to provide additional storage capacity for medical devices and clinical consumables to ensure there is a continuity of supply for Wales.
As part of our contingency planning, we have been working very closely with NHS Wales, the UK Government, and other key stakeholders to assess risks relating to maintaining a supply for medical devices and clinical consumables after the UK leaves the European Union.
These are key products which could be impacted by potential changes to trading relations with the EU, if for example there should be a restricted flow of goods into the UK through border ports. It is vital that contingency plans are put in place to limit any possible disruption to healthcare supplies and the significant risk to health and social care in Wales that this could cause. An essential part of these plans is the securing of additional storage capacity to maintain an increased stock in Wales of these critical items.
The facility will enable the stocking of more health items, and the stocking of at risk categories of social care items, meaning our dependency on external supply chains is decreased and our resilience is increased. This directly links to our commitment to seamless working across the health and social care system and the approach set out in A Healthier Wales.
We will also be able to increase our understanding of the supply chain, volumes, pressures and geographic origin of the products we use in our healthcare system. This means that we can more easily achieve efficiencies and cost savings, as well as supporting economic development in Wales.
There may also be an opportunity to let space to local supply chain partners including start up commercial companies and non-profit social enterprises, developing new devices, products or service offerings. This aligns with Welsh Government’s strategy on industry and NHS partnerships.
I am extremely proud of the health and social care system in Wales, and am keenly aware of how important it is to ensure our services are protected in this uncertain time for our nation.
The purchase of this site will assist in our readiness preparations for Brexit, which is our overriding priority at this time. But we must continue to look to the future, and I am pleased this investment also has the potential to contribute to achieving the ambitions we have set out in A Healthier Wales, our plan for health and social care.