Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs)

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.

Contractors should check the table for the latest information for each SSP's validity, as they can change.

Active SSPs can be viewed here.

Boots Pharmacy has a website here that can be used to view stock levels.


  • Availability is an indication only.
  • This does not reserve the stock or guarantee it will still be in stock when you get to the store.
First Published
9 January 2023
Updated On
4 December 2023
Due to be Reviewed
4 December 2025
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