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The Potential Impact Brexit On Health And Social Care

17th April 2019

A No-Deal Brexit

As many of us will already know, when the country voted to leave the European Union and Article 50 was triggered, the UK government were tasked with coming to an agreement as to how Brexit will look and the effect it will have on our country including the health and social care sector. As there has been significant and (rather ongoing) debate around this agreement, a great deal of work has been done to prepare the health and social care sector, and indeed those thinking about setting up a social enterprise, for a ‘no deal’ outcome. As it stands, a no-deal Brexit could potentially have quite an impact on England’s health and social care sector, especially in terms of potential disruption of supplies and workforce. With this in mind it is essential that those in the sector, whether an established business or just starting a care agency, are aware of the contingency plans in place and the actions they should take.

Here is a very brief introduction to the impacts of a no-deal Brexit on England’s health and social care sector, and just a few of the impacts this could have on starting a care agency in the UK.

What Does a No-Deal Brexit Mean For Health and Social Care?

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the Department for Health and Social Care have issued a number of contingency guidelines to help ensure providers, and indeed those in the process of setting up a social enterprise, are prepared in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance have identified 7 key areas of activity within the health and social care system, that are thought to require contingency planning should a ‘no-deal’ go ahead.

  • Supply of medicines and vaccines

  • Supply of medical devices and clinical consumables

  • Supply of non clinical consumables, goods and services

  • Workforce

  • Reciprocal healthcare

  • Research and clinical trials

  • Data sharing, processing and access

‚ÄčAll those working within the sector should take note of these areas and find the actions required of them in order to minimise disruption, and help ensure as smooth a transition as possible. The potential risks are however, not limited to this list and have been noted to also potentially include areas such as the blood and transport sector with which, the government is working closely. But it’s not all doom and gloom, for those thinking about setting up a social enterprise or are already established, a group called the Operational Response Centre has been set up to help mitigate any disruption. The government has also been working hard to set up control arrangements at the borders, to help minimise any delays and help ensure the flow of goods.

Medical Supplies

For those in the process of setting up a care agency or are maybe already established, the supply of medicines is likely to be fairly high up on the agenda of concerns with regards to a no-deal Brexit. Whether its adult social care, respite care services or care for those with disabilities or mental health illness, readily available medication can form an essential part of a person’s overall care.  it is worth noting that in a recent update to adult social care providers, it is advised in the first instance not to stockpile medications. It does however, go on to suggest that for those agencies reliant on deliveries directly from EU countries on a short lead time basis, to start incorporating slightly longer lead times of around 3 days. On this note it is also advised that agencies look into increasing flexibility around receiving stock outside of normal good receipt hours. Useful information for those thinking about setting up a social enterprise.


Those in the process of starting a care agency will be all too aware of just how important the workforce is to the success of a business, and for many years we have relied upon a skilled EU workforce to deliver many of our care services. It is thought that in the UK 1 in 11 care worker roles are unfulfilled, meaning that care staff are often sought from overseas to help bridge the gap. It is thought that of the 1.3 million people working in England’s adult social care sector, around 8 per cent are from EU countries, and there are some concerns that a no-deal Brexit could have an impact on the future of this workforce.

Existing EU health and social care workers currently based in England will now need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme in order to stay working in the UK. In December 2018 the government published a whitepaper for a new skills based imigration system, in this, an income threshold has been proposed which may well have an impact on the number of workers attracted to the UK.  If a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is agreed then, for an interim period at least, care workers will need to apply for permission to stay past 3 months, which again may affect the workforce attracted to England’s health and social care sector as well as  those thinking about starting up a social enterprise.

CQC Registration

To ensure England’s health and social care sector continues to grow and indeed strengthen into the future, especially post-Brexit, we need business minded individuals with a passion for care to start thinking about setting up a new care agency.

When setting up a social enterprise, quality of service should always be at the forefront of any care or domiciliary agency business plan. The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and social care in England, and CQC Registration is an absolute necessity for anyone hoping to start a care agency. At the moment it does not look like there will be any changes in this CQC registration requirement when Brexit does finally descend upon us, unless there are any amends made to the Health and Social Care Act, of which there has been no indication.

With the arrival of Brexit you will still need to adhere to the same rules of setting up care agency as before, to ensure we maintain a high level of care service across the country. Our top tips for starting a care agency include: ensuring only qualified staff are hired and have completed the necessary CIS training, designating a registered manager and allocating a responsible individual, as well as potentially finding a solid funding stream.

This is of course just a very simple introduction to the world of Brexit and the potential impacts of a ‘no-deal’ on England’s health and social care system. We have focused here on a few areas and is intended as a starting point from which to start your own research and form your own opinions on the subject. Please note that this article does not constitute investment advice. All financial investments carry risk. Potential investors should therefore seek independent financial advice before making any investment For more information please visit PNG Formations or contact the team directly.

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