THE OUTGOING Liberal Democrat leader has warned a no-deal Brexit is a 'major issue' for Hereford County Hospital.

Sir Vince Cable visited the hospital today as part of a wider campaign as his party contests in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election and said there is anxiety among staff about the supply of prescription drugs, staff recruitment and retention and financial issues that could affect the future of the hospital.

"I've been on sort of a grand tour, I was in south Wales and then Powys and then Hereford," Vince Cable said.

"We came to Hereford because it's the hospital that serves Powys, and we're interested in that cross-border issue.

"Having come here, actually the major issue for discussion was the no-deal situation. This is a good, popular hospital and it's clearly well-run, but there is some anxiety amongst the staff which they have expressed on a variety of fronts.

"Drugs supply, they're already feeling the impact on nurse recruitment and nurse retention, and the big financial question is the hospital's future rests in significant measures in some modernisation capital works and the funding isn't secure.

"If there is a financial crunch coming as a result of the European situation then it will put the hospital in some trouble.

Hospital bosses have now turned their attention to the Philippines as they look to recruit more staff for the Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.

Sir Vince also warned that stockpiling medicines wasn't something made up by politicians and is a real issue facing NHS Trusts across the UK.

"It just happened that today, Simon Stevens, who is the chief executive of the NHS, put out a warning that they had been preparing for this before the March 31st deadline and preparations for all that stopped," he added.

"They're starting to look at it again and they're beginning to realise that they don't have the necessary stocks.

"It's not an issue raised by politicians, it's an issue raised by staff in the NHS itself. It's partly availability and it's partly cost. At the moment they get generic drugs, if they run short, they're then into much more expensive drugs and the cost of running the NHS becomes all the much more difficult."

The former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, a role he held during the coalition government between 2010 and 2015, also said the money for the county hospital to replace its old hutted wards could go 'up the spout' in the event of no-deal.

Private finance initiatives (PFI) are where private firms are contracted to complete and manage public projects, such as those at the hospital according to Vince Cable.

"Much of this hospital is modern under the PFI scheme, it's been lumbered with the costs of it, but at least it's modern," he said.

"There is a section of the hospital which is in very old buildings which should have been closed long ago. They now depend of government funding to put it right.

"The big worry about the no-deal Brexit is that if it produces a financial crisis, all that money goes up the spout."