SSP

Multiple SSPs for HRT product shortages

In response to significant ongoing disruption to the supply of some Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) medicines, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued a further ten new Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) in addition to the three already in place from April.

These SSPs will allow pharmacies to either supply a reduced quantity of the same HRT medicine or a specific alternative substitute product or a combination of both.

Quantity Restriction SSPs

Where a prescription has a duration of more than three months and supplies are available, an equivalent of three months’ supply will be permitted in accordance with the SSP for the prescribed medicine.

In accordance with an SSP for a reduced quantity, if the patient normally pays for their prescriptions, NO prescription charge is payable for the reduced quantity supply.

Substitution with a specific alternative product SSPs

Where the prescribed duration of treatment is three months or less and supplies are unavailable, a pharmacist can supply a specific alternative product sufficient to provide a reasonable estimate of the prescribed duration of treatment, if deemed clinically appropriate.

In accordance with an SSP for a substituted product, if the patient normally pays for their prescriptions, they will still have to pay the usual prescription charge.

Quantity Restriction and Substitution SSPs

Where a prescription has a duration of more than three months and supplies are unavailable, the SSPs will allow pharmacists to provide three months’ supply of specific alternative product.

In accordance with an SSP for a reduced quantity, if the patient normally pays for their prescriptions, NO prescription charge is payable for the reduced quantity supply.

Only one SSP can be used against an individual prescription. Therefore, in each scenario, the pharmacist will need to consider both the pharmacy’s stock levels of different HRT medicines and the patient’s circumstances before determining which of the SSPs is most appropriate to use. Depending on the SSP used, the change in supply may require additional counselling to ensure that the patient is confident to take their medication. This information can be found in the individual SSP documents on the NHS BSA website

Serious Shortage Protocol main page