Seanad debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

3:30 pm

Photo of Keith SwanickKeith Swanick (Fianna Fail)

In recent months, we have seen escalating bluster from across the Irish Sea. Prime Minister Johnson's non-proposal proposals for a no-man's land between the Republic and Northern Ireland reflect the seriousness of those who say they are attempting to resolve the issue. We need our Government to be open and honest with people. A breakdown in trust regarding our preparedness for the healthcare implications of Brexit could have dire consequences. I appreciate the dilemma because we do not want to panic people. Our focus for a long time has been on getting a good long-term outcome from Brexit. However, we need to make available to the public, clinicians and administrators plans to address drug availability. We need to be certain of the supply of drugs and medicines. We need to know what emergency plans will be in place on the Border and what plans are in place with regard to the cross-border directive and the services attached thereto. The challenge we face also applies to refrigerated products and products with a short shelf-life. This has tangible implications for the healthcare sector. As a general practitioner on the ground, I have met nervous patients, some of whom have asked whether they should get up to six months in additional supplies of medication with their next prescription.People are seeing the charade and disorganisation in Westminster and are coming to their own conclusions about the 31 October deadline. A trickle could very quickly become a flood. There is something of a disconnect on the ground and people are worried about their conditions. A public awareness campaign would benefit the cohort of patients who are concerned.

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