The impact of stock shortages can have a substantial effect on a patients, community pharmacies and the NHS as a whole.
Although the impact of stock shortages on patient care is widely acknowledged, when a medicine goes into short supply, it can also have a major impact on community pharmacists. Shortages inevitably lead to increased time spent in sourcing products, discussing alternatives with prescribers and counselling patients. Shortages can also have an impact on key pharmacy relationships as they can increase conflict between the patient and the pharmacist and the pharmacist and the prescriber.
On 1st July 2019 legislation came into force allowing the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to issue Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs).
SSPs are a potential way to help pharmacies manage any serious shortages of medicines that may occur, without needing to refer patients back to prescribers.
If an SSP is issued, community pharmacy contractors must, under their Terms of Service, consider the SSP, so it is important that contractors are aware of the legislation and the new requirements.
Please see our Brexit page for information about shortages relating to the UK’s exit from the EU.