The Health Service Executive has warned about a key risk to the supply of medical devices for patients post- Brexit.

It said the number of devices that will face regulatory issues is significant and represent 'a particular risk' in terms of maintaining service continuity from early 2020, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as supplies run out.

Medical devices would include hospital equipment, implantable devices in patients, contact lenses and wheelchairs.

The HSE said work is also under way regarding around 6,500 critical medicines to review vulnerable supply lines.

In a statement to an Oireachtas Health Committee meeting tomorrow, the HSE will say that while assurances have been provided on existing supply routes, there is potential for delay and disruption.

Medicines with a short-term life are especially vulnerable.

No vaccines are supplied via the UK chain.

Separately the Health Products Regulatory Authority will tell the Committee that radiopharmaceuticals have a short shelf life and need a very specialised transport system.

Most are currently flown via East Midlands Airport in the UK, by one company.

The HPRA said all the indications are that the company will continue to supply the Irish market but the issue is complex.

It also said that insulin for diabetic patients needs refrigeration, storage and transport and the Irish suppliers have about 8-10 weeks' stocks.

Work is under way with wholesalers to build stocks but some stocks post-Brexit will still come via air, sea and transport across the UK.

The HPRA has warned that significant and prolonged delays anywhere along UK routes could potentially interrupt Irish market supplies.

However, it said there are no major supply concerns for continuity of patient care identified.

It has also advised there is no need for hospitals, health professionals or patients to order extra quantities of medicines, ahead of Brexit, as to do so could disrupt existing stock levels.

Department of Health officials will tell the Committee that its Brexit efforts are about 'damage limitation'.

It says it has received 'strong general assurances' from the pharmaceutical industry.

It says that Ireland is unlikely to face general medicine shortages immediately after 31 October and that any emergency issues will be dealt with from existing supplies.