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BNSSG Paediatric Joint Formulary

Management of Stock Shortages

Last edited: 15-02-2024

Management of stock shortages

Stock shortages will occur periodically due to outside factors and can cause anxiety and may impact on patient care.

Please note the guidance ‘A guide to managing medicines supply and shortages1’ from the Department of Health and Social Care with NHS England and NHS Improvement for both primary and secondary care. This document outlines the national, regional and local management and communication routes for medicines supply issues to ensure continuity of supply and ensure that patients receive the treatment and medication required. These are followed in BNSSG.

In summary, when a medicine is unavailable:

  • Where possible an alternate drug from the formulary should be used.

  • Where there is no alternate drug on the formulary a non-formulary option may be considered in discussion between primary and secondary care.

  • Once the stock shortage has resolved the formulary drug should be reinstated.

 The Specialist Pharmacy Service has developed a new Medicines Supply Tool, which can be accessed via the website here. Please note a log in is required to access this tool.

A Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) may be issued if the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decide there is a serious shortage of a specific medicine or appliance. SSP updates are available via the NHS Business Services Authority website here.



  1. Document Title: A Guide to Managing Medicines Supply and Shortages. Publishing approval number: 000920. November 2019


Supply disruptions of medicines used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Please see Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Guidance and BNSSG Patient Information Leaflet about methylphenidate