NHS Reinstates Blood Collection Efforts Threatened by Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. health officials moved to smooth over a Brexit fuss as blood-collection efforts that were canceled at port cities due to fears of snarled traffic were reinstated the same day they were announced.

National Health Service blood donation will go on as scheduled in Dover and Folkestone, the U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care said late Tuesday. That followed a tweet from the NHS’s Blood Donation unit, saying that the events had been canceled for two weeks before and six weeks after the Brexit deadline in March because health workers might have difficulty reaching the cities.

The department “does not agree with this course of action,” according to a statement. Blood donations “will continue as normal. We’re grateful to all lifesaving blood donors who make an important contribution.”

A report from the council of the southeast county of Kent warned in December that a no-deal Brexit could lead to widespread road congestion as shipments waited for customs clearance, leading to traffic gridlock and related problems. Pharma companies are already stockpiling on both sides of the English Channel, reserving space on flights, and finding alternate shipping routes for supplies of life-saving drugs in case a no-deal Brexit clogs ports and customs stations with shipments.

The local cancellations weren’t expected to affect blood supplies, as there are hundreds of collection points throughout the U.K.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.