Health and social care after Brexit (medicines and services)

Last updated: 10 February 2020

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. We're now in a transition period (also known as the implementation period) that's likely to last until the end of December 2020. This means the UK is currently still following EU rules.

In January 2021 the transition period will end and our new relationship with the EU will begin. There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland.

This may include changes to health and social care.

The UK is now in the Brexit transition period. This means many of the details about what Brexit will mean are not yet known. This page gives the latest facts, but it will be updated as more details are confirmed. Please keep checking back for new information.

UK citizens

If you currently live in Scotland and are a UK citizen, Brexit will not affect your current rights to health and social care, including GP and hospital services.

There may be extra pressures on health and social care services if the Brexit transition period ends before an EU trade deal has been agreed (a 'non-negotiated outcome').

However, the Scottish Government previously undertook extensive preparations for a potential 'no deal' exit last year and those plans are ready to be activated again in the future, if required.

During the transition period, there should be no disruption to the supply of:

  • medicines
  • medical devices (instruments and other equipment used in hospitals and other health and social care settings)
  • clinical consumables (disposable or short life goods used in hospitals and other health and social care settings)

However shortages do happen in the NHS sometimes. This is normal and there are systems in place to inform GPs and pharmacists about any issues. If any issues arise that might affect your prescription, then your GP or pharmacist will notify you directly.

EU citizens

EU citizens currently living in Scotland will continue to be able to access health and social care.

Many EU citizens currently work in health and social care settings in Scotland and their contribution is greatly valued.

EU citizens should be able to continue working as they do now, but will need to apply for settled status by 30 June 2021 if they wish to continue living and working in the UK.

The EU citizens living in Scotland page gives the latest information on this, including details on how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, and on the Scottish Government's advisory service for EU citizens.

More information

More details on the delivery of health and social care after the transition period will be added to this page as new information becomes available.

Meanwhile, there are other sites you can check for updates:

The content on this site is correct as of today's date and is based on the information available at this time. Regular updates will be made as the Brexit process develops. In the event of a 'no deal', additional advice and information will be given on this site. Please continue to check back for updates.