There are 19 medicines and drugs that are being used as emergency alternatives due to a range of treatments that are typically prescribed to patients in the midst of a major emergency care crisis in the NHS. When there is a severe shortage of a specific drug or device, the Department of Health and Human Care (DHSC) can issue what is known as a Severe Shortage Protocol (SSP). According to a list on the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website, there are currently 19 medicines with an active SSP.
However, patients can still receive treatment for their disease or condition, as SSPs allow GPs to prescribe other emergency alternatives.
According to the NHS, a contractor must use professional skill and judgment to decide, with the help of medical experts, whether it is appropriate to change a patient’s prescribed order to the active SSP.
Last month, the DHSC initially issued an SSP for three penicillin drugs after demand for antibiotics used to treat strep A skyrocketed following a spike in cases.
But after 19 children died from the deadly virus, the DHSC issued five more SSPs to address antibiotic supply problems as cases and demand continued to rise.
It allowed pharmacists to supply alternative forms of penicillin to make things easier for patients and GPs.
The DHSC said in a statement: “The lawsuit penicillin It has increased recently as it is used to treat strep A and scarlet fever, and increased demand means that some pharmacists are experiencing temporary, localized supply problems and may not have the specific formulation listed on the prescription.”
SSPs appear to remain in place, according to the NHSBSA website, implying that there is still a serious shortage of the antibiotics normally used to treat strep A.
But bacterial infection remains a concern for parents, while covid and flu cases are also on the rise. The combination of these three diseases has added pressure to the already struggling health service, which is now experiencing a major crisis in emergency care.
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Last month, one in four ambulance patients in England waited more than an hour to be transferred to hospital A&E teams in December as a combination of bed shortages and rising demand.
Meanwhile, four in 10 patients had to wait at least 30 minutes to be transported to A&E. This month, several hospitals across the country are reporting critical incidents as they struggle to cope with the influx of patients.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has argued that the pressures on the NHS this month can be attributed to “a combination of very high rates of influenza, persistently high levels of COVID, ongoing concerns particularly among many parents around strep A.” .
But, certainly, these are not the only diseases that worry patients. SSPs are also issued for certain prescriptions for atorvastatin, a drug used to prevent cardiovascular disease in people at high risk.
In addition to this, SSPs are also issued for specific fluoxetine prescriptions. This medication is sold under the brand name Prozac and is used as an antidepressant.
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There are also SSPs issued for treatments with estradiol, a steroid hormone of estrogen and the main female sex hormone.
Aside from active SSP drugs issued, there is also a shortage of basic cough and cold medicines such as throat lozenges, cough mixes and some pain relievers at a time when cases of winter sickness are rising, he said. the director of the Association of Multiple Independent Pharmacies. (AIMP) warned this week.
Even some of the most basic treatments, such as Lemsip and Nightnurse, have reportedly disappeared from pharmacy shelves, “much more so than in years past” they report amid rising Covid and flu cases.
AIMP chief executive Leyla Hannbeck told the PA news agency: “On the front line it is very difficult because we are seeing this shortage, but the people who are in charge of supporting us are in denial.”
However, a DHSC spokesperson said: “We are aware of reports of problems with the availability of some brand name cold and flu medications; these appear to be temporary, localized.
“The supply of over-the-counter medicines is not controlled by the central government, but we are working with providers to investigate and help ensure that over-the-counter cold and flu medicines remain available.”