HOSPITAL staff have been warned of "supply issues" following the UK's departure from the European Union.

Royal Bolton Hospital's chief operating officer sent an email to all staff advising them of the looming Brexit deadline and national guidance against stockpiling locally.

Andy Ennis told staff: "The national advice is best summarised 'to keep calm and carry on'."

He said: "It is not anticipated there will be immediate issues after Brexit but it is anticipated we will have some supply issues at some point."

The United Kingdom is still set to leave the European Union on Friday, March 29, and with Westminster unable to decide the plan of departure a lot of different sectors are worried.

In January it was reported both the hospital and Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had started their own no-deal Brexit planning.

Around 75 per cent of the medicines used by the NHS come into the country via the European Union and more than half of its devices but local health bosses have been told not to act.

Mr Ennis told staff in his email on February 22: "As an organisation we are being instructed not to stockpile anything, but in some areas where we may only carry 24-48 hours stock to extend this to 72 hours.

"National stockpiles are being made and arrangements have been made to increase the number of ports which goods are brought through to prevent delays as well as increasing the amount of goods flown in."

Mr Ennis asked staff not to stockpile but to keep an eye out and "be sensible", to advise there managers if stock is likely to run out or is running low in the run up to the exit date.

When approached regarding the email sent to staff Mr Ennis told The Bolton News: "Our advice to staff regarding Brexit is in line with national guidance."

A letter from Professor Keith Willett, director of acute care and strategic commander for EU exit with NHS England may have prompted Mr Ennis' email to staff.

Prof Willett wrote to all CCGs and hospital trust chief executives on February 4, 2019.

He said: "Along with other Government departments, [the Department for Health and Social Care] has stepped up its planning for a ‘no deal’ scenario."

Similarly in January chief pharmaceutical officer, Dr Keith Ridge, wrote to all GPs, community pharmacists and hospital pharmacists.

He said the government was securing a six-week medicine stockpile with the help of the pharmaceutical industry and had "significant" stockpiles of vaccines.

Dr Ridge said: "The priority is for us all to continue to work together across the NHS to ensure patients continue to have access to the medicines they need."