Archived on 29 September 2020 – this content has expired.

SSP issued for fluoxetine from 20 May 2020 (England and Northern Ireland)

21 May 2020

IMPORTANT — Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for fluoxetine capsules 40mg comes into effect from 20 May 2020.

Main story:

The Department of Health and Social care (DHSC) in England and Department of Health in Northern Ireland have advised that following a significant ongoing disruption for fluoxetine capsules 40mg; a Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for fluoxetine capsules 40mg has received Ministerial approval.

  • The SSP will come into effect on Wednesday 20 May 2020; its scheduled expiry date is Monday 20 July 2020.
  • Under the SSP, when presented with NHS or private prescriptions for fluoxetine capsules 40mg, pharmacists can instead supply two x fluoxetine capsules 20mg.
  • NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA), NHS England & Improvement (NHSE&I) and the Health and Social Care Board will be emailing all community pharmacy teams to alert them to the introduction of the SSP.
  • The SSP and the supporting guidance document is available on the NHS Business Services Authority website and the HSC Business Services Organisation website.

Summary of recommended actions to prepare for dispensing in accordance with an SSP

  • Ensure that all staff, including locums, who will be involved in dispensing an item in accordance with an SSP are trained and competent to do so
  • Ensure that an SSP standard operating procedure (SOP) is in place and other relevant SOPs are updated, read, understood, signed and implemented by all members of the pharmacy team involved in service delivery
  • Ensure that the pharmacy team know where they can find new SSPs and/or changes to an existing SSP
  • Ensure that the pharmacy has access to an NHSmail account (England only) or can receive emails so that it can receive notification when an SSP is issued
  • Ensure that the pharmacy has access to the NHS Summary Care Record (England only) 

Professional indemnity insurance

NPA professional indemnity insurance will cover NPA members, customers (and the pharmacists they employ/engage) when supplying medicines/appliances under the relevant enabling legislation and the Serious Shortages Protocols (SSPs) which apply. It is acknowledged that pharmacists will be expected to exercise professional judgement to determine the appropriateness of making each supply.

NPA support for members

The NPA has produced a template SOP and guidance resource to support pharmacists and pharmacy teams in ensure compliance with relevant requirements when supplying medicines or appliances under an SSP. These resources are available to access from the NPA website: Please be aware that we are currently reviewing these resources in-line with recent changes that have been made.

For further information on this or any other query, please contact the NPA Pharmacy Services team on 01727 891 800 or email

Produced by the NPA Pharmacy Services team, May 2020