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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Update on no-deal preparations

18 Sep 2019

What’s new?

September 2019 saw the publication of the government’s ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ document. This sets out how the government is working to address the potential impact of a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ if there is a no-deal Brexit. Worryingly, Operation Yellowhammer highlighted that medicines and medical products are particularly vulnerable’ to disruption at ports in the English Channel.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England also published updated advice and information for patients in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Epilepsy Action has been pushing the government to provide more information for patients about how a no-deal Brexit could impact them and what plans are in place to minimise any disruption. This additional information provides answers to some of the questions people with epilepsy have been asking us on this issue.

Updated NHS information

The NHS website now includes an overview of its information on accessing medicines if there is a no-deal Brexit. This includes details about government plans to make sure that medicines continue to be available, deal or no-deal.

An important point made is that people with epilepsy should carry on taking and ordering medicine as normal.

It is also important to remember that patients should not stockpile medicines themselves as this could impact the availability of medicines for other people.

There is also an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). This includes more information about the government’s preparations to make sure medicines continue to be available in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It also includes advice about prescriptions and clinical trials.

Additional information

Some of the updated NHS information is slightly different for people with epilepsy. This includes some details of the Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP). This is a protocol that sets out what the government and NHS should do in the event of a ‘serious shortage’ of specific medicines.

For additional information about what the Serious Shortage Protocol means for people with epilepsy, you can read our information here.

Next steps

We welcome the updated patient information and the increased engagement from DHSC with patient organisations, including Epilepsy Action. However, we remain concerned about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on people with epilepsy.

We know that the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit can be stressful for some people. We’ll do all we can to carry on keeping people updated as things move forward.

Comments: read the 4 comments or add yours


If the EU stop drugs coming into the UK does the UK stop playing guinea pigs for drug trails, because isn’t it the deal, one country researchers, another pays for the them, another supplies them etc and we are the one’s who do the testing for the drug trails. Let’s see if the EU want to play the guinea pigs instead, they will soon send the drugs over? They are all just scaremongering. The only thing is, we are not falling for it. Quicker we are out of the EU the better for the NHS and everyone else.

Submitted by Elaine Parker

I have had three sleep seizures since November 2018 surrendered my licence got it back in May 2019 had another sleep seizure August 2010 surrendered it again had another sleep seizure today September 23rd been put on leviracetam for epilepsy can I reapply for my licence back as all seizures have been sleep ones

Submitted by Raymond

Hi Raymond
I feel sorry for you i really do. I myself have just had to surrender my licence again also.. I know with awake seizures you have to be seizure free for 1 yr and i believe its the same for sleep seizures.. To be sure best bet is to check on dvla website or give them a call..take care

Submitted by Audra

Hi Raymond,

Thanks for your comment.

If you have never had a seizure while you are awake, then you are likely to be allowed to drive 12 months after your first sleep seizure.

Your doctor would also need to be in support of you driving again, as the DVLA will contact them.

As the 12 month anniversary of your first sleep seizure is under two months away, you could put in your application now. Information about how to do that is here.

I hope that’s helpful.



Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Ashley - Epilep...
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