Intended for healthcare professionals


Yellowhammer outlines how things fall apart in a no deal Brexit

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 13 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5569
  1. Andy Cowper, editor, Health Policy Insight, London, UK
  1. andycowper{at}

Worst case, or likely case?

Just before the prime minister prorogued Parliament on Monday, MPs voted to force the government to publish its plans for coping in the event of a “no deal” exit from the EU on 31 October. This five page “Operation Yellowhammer” document has now been published.1

Even in the rewriting of its title, it seems that the government is trying to dilute this profoundly political problem. The Sunday Times journalist Rosamund Urwin obtained the same document and published an article on 18 August.2 SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon publicly confirmed on the record that when the Scottish government was sent this document, on which the Sunday Times story was based, it was titled “base scenario.”3 A base scenario is best defined as the midway point between the foreseeable best case and worst case scenarios. The Cabinet Office minister Michael …

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