NHS Providers comments on Roche supply chain issue

07 October 2020

Commenting on the Roche supply chain issue, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said:

“This has shone a very bright light on how dependent NHS trusts are on their supply chain of medicines, medical equipment and medical consumables.

“Trust leaders are telling us that this problem raises immediate operational pressures for a number of trusts as they seek to maintain testing relevant to a range of conditions including, in some areas, COVID-19. Trust leaders tell us they have been working hard with clinicians over the last 24 hours to minimise the impact on patients. That impact will depend on the amount of relevant stock the trusts holds and how quickly Roche can sort the distribution problems it is having.

“The problem reinforces the vital importance of ensuring there is a robust medical supply chain in place as we head towards the end of the Brexit transition period. As this incident shows, there can be very significant consequences for patients and trusts if the medical supply chain fails. Trusts are almost totally in the hands of the government and commercial suppliers to manage the end of the Brexit transition effectively.

“We understand Roche, trusts and other commercial partners are working hard to resolve this particular problem quickly, but we should see this as a clear warning sign of what could go wrong if the government doesn’t manage Brexit transition effectively.”