CONCERNS have been raised over hostel staff safety amid fears of a post-Brexit Methodone shortage across Carlisle.

Councillor Pamela Birks is worried that council employees working at the coalface could be put at greater risk if the political situation caused supplies of the heroin-substitute to dry up.

She also sought assurances that “emergency planning” was being undertaken in case medications prescribed to treat mental health issues, including anti-psychotic drugs, became less readily available after October 31

Speaking to Elizabeth Mallinson, the authority’s Communities, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder, Coun Birks said: “Given the people suffering from mental health issues in the hostels, I have concerns for the safety and welfare of our staff if Methadone, or whatever, isn’t available.

“We have such high incidents of mental health (issues), especially within the men’s resources.”

The concerns were raised after members of the city council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel had considered a report into homelessness prevention across Carlisle.

Addressing the concerns, Councillor Mallinson told the panel that this was “not a new issue” and that the issue was being tackled nationally as well as locally.

She said: “Going around the hostels, we found that staff are very aware of the situation and they have actually got in place protocols to deal with it.

“There are very tight rules and we, as an organisation have protocols for our staff because of the health and safety issues.”

Coun Birks said she was aware that the council had rules in place to tackle the issue but wanted to know the potential issues had been identified as a “higher risk”.

“We have been told that there could be drugs which aren’t going to be as readily available – and I want to make sure that we have the safety measures in place,” she added.

Coun Mallinson pledged to seek the help of the public health team and said she would put the concerns to Tammie Rhodes, the council’s homeless, prevention and accommodation services manager, circulating the response to the committee.