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DHSC passes legislation recognising EU pharmacist qualifications in the UK

Health secretary Matt Hancock

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Health secretary Matt Hancock’s letter confirmed that EU staff who are currently practising in the UK can continue to do so

Legislation has been passed that allows the qualifications of pharmacists from the EU to be recognised in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In a letter to all health and social care staff, health secretary Matt Hancock announced that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has put in place legislation to ensure that all professional regulators covering the health and social care sectors, including the General Pharmaceutical Council, will continue to recognise European qualifications.

He said the new legislation means “EU staff who are currently practising in the UK can continue to do so, and that professionals qualified in the EEA and Switzerland can continue to apply for registration after exit day, even if we leave without a deal”.

His letter, dated 2 April 2019, stated there would be no need for any change to existing employment contracts if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and therefore “no question of EU staff needing to reapply for their own jobs because of EU exit”.

Hancock encouraged all EU citizens who already live in the UK to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to secure either “settled status”, if they have been in the UK for five years, or “pre-settled status”, if they have lived in the UK for fewer than five years.

He also reiterated that health professionals should not over-order or over-prescribe medicines. “Local stockpiling is unnecessary and could cause shortages which would put those that need medicines at risk,” he said.

The DHSC first wrote to pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in August 2018, advising them not to stockpile medicines at a local level ahead of Brexit.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206399

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