The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This process was known as 'Brexit'.
We're now in a transition period (also known as the implementation period) that's likely to last until the end of December 2020. This means the UK is currently still following EU rules.  In January 2021 the transition period will end and our new relationship with the EU will begin.  There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland. It's still not clear what these effects will be. Despite this, the Scottish Government is working with the UK Government and public bodies to prepare for possible impacts on people and business in Scotland.

Trade deal with EU

The Scottish Government is looking at two main options for what will happen after the transition period ends:
• Brexit with a trade deal
• Brexit without a trade deal (a 'no deal' situation)

The UK Government has proposed a trade deal. But it has not yet been confirmed. 

Impact on Health and Social Care (medicines and services)

There may be extra pressures on health and social care services if the Brexit transition period ends before an EU trade deal has been agreed. However, the Scottish Government previously undertook extensive preparations for a potential 'no deal' exit last year and those plans are ready to be activated again in the future, if required.
During the transition period, there should be no disruption to the supply of:

  • medicines
  • medical devices (instruments and other equipment used in hospitals and other health and social care settings)
  • clinical consumables (disposable or short life goods used in hospitals and other health and social care settings)

However shortages do happen in the NHS sometimes. This is normal and there are systems in place to inform GPs and pharmacists about any issues. If any issues arise that might affect your prescription, then your GP or pharmacist will notify you directly.
For more information as it become available visit:

EU citizens living in Scotland

EU citizens currently living in Scotland will continue to be able to access health and social care. Many EU citizens currently work in health and social care settings in Scotland and their contribution is greatly valued. Read the Cabinet Secretary's letter reassuring Health and Social Care workers 

EU citizens should be able to continue working as they do now, but will need to apply for settled status by 30 June 2021 if they wish to continue living and working in the UK.
The EU citizens living in Scotland page gives the latest information on this, including details on how to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, and on the Scottish Government's advisory service for EU citizens.

A support and advice service is also available for all citizens living in Scotland affected by the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme who may need additional information and support.

EU citizens who have been in the UK for five continuous years will be able to apply for settled status. EU citizens who have been in the UK less than five years can apply for presettled status. After five years continuous residency they can then apply for settled status. For further information please visit:

Guide for EU citizens

A package of support is available to download by visiting the EU citizens staying in Scotland.

Different terms may be used by EU/EEA nationals may use when discussing their status. A guide to these terms can be found here

For more information please call the Citizens Advice Scotland freephone national helpline on 0800 916 9847 or visit