Amendments to the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013 have been laid before Parliament.
Due to come into force from Monday 1 July 2019, these amendments will introduce the Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) into the terms of service for NHS community pharmacies. This means that, where an SSP is in place for a particular product, a retail pharmacy business or a dispensing appliance contractor must consider supplying in accordance with the SSP rather than fulfilling an NHS prescription for that product. It may, instead of fulfilling the NHS prescription, supply a different product, or a different quantity of the ordered product, in the circumstances and subject to the conditions set out in the SSP.
SSP legislation was first introduced in February 2019, as part of (but is not dependent on) no-deal Brexit planning, to enable the Health and Social Care Secretary to put in place alternative arrangements for supply where a drug or appliance is ordered on prescription but there is, or may in the future be, a serious shortage of that drug or appliance.
Further information on SSP is available from English pharmacy negotiator PSNC.