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Serious shortage protocols (SSPs)

In February 2019, the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 were changed to introduce SSPs.


Further changes came into force in July 2019, in the NHS (amendments relating to serious shortage protocols) Regulations 2019.


If the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decide there is a serious shortage of a specific medicine or appliance, then an SSP may be issued.


The contractor must use their professional skill and judgement to decide, alongside medical experts, whether it's reasonable and appropriate to substitute the patient's prescribed order for the active SSP. The patient would also have to agree to the alternative supply for that dispensing month.


SSP updates


October 2019

The Department of Health and Social Care has agreed the October serious shortage protocols for the following items:

Fluoxetine 10mg capsules (PDF:151KB)

Fluoxetine 30mg capsules (PDF:131KB)

Fluoxetine 40mg capsules (PDF:131KB)

Updated supporting guidance for these protocols have also been made and published below.

Fluoxetine supporting endorsement guidance (PDF:139KB)


General guidance for Serious Shortage Protocols

Serious Shortage Protocols Operational Guidance (PDF:162KB)

Serious Shortage Protocols Questions & Answers (PDF:168KB)