Expiry of SSP054 Clarithromycin 250mg/5ml oral suspension

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that sufficient stock of Clarithromycin 250mg/5ml oral suspension are now available to meet normal demand. As a result the Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP), SSP054 Clarithromycin 250mg/5ml oral suspension at 23.59pm on Friday 17 November 2023. After this date, any prescriptions for Clarithromycin 250mg/5ml oral suspension must be dispensed in accordance with the prescription, and SSP054 will no longer be valid for use.

Community Pharmacy England previously reported that the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) received a number of EPS SSP claims which did not meet the requirements for a valid SSP claim. A large number SSP claims continue to be deemed invalid by the NHSBSA due to incorrect endorsements applied by PMR systems and/or pharmacy staff. We recommend pharmacy owners to regularly reconcile the value of SSP fees on their payment schedules against the number of SSPs declared on the FP34C submission form. Please refer to our new guidance on reconciliation of SSP claims.

If there is a payment discrepancy and it is believed that the correct SSP endorsing guidance was followed, pharmacy owners may consider requesting a re-check of relevant prescriptions and the NHSBSA will be able to explain why the claim was unpaid or rectify the payments.

Pharmacy teams are reminded to follow the SSP-specific guidance to ensure endorsements are applied correctly, and we also have guidance supporting teams raising PMR-specific claiming issues with their suppliers.

Top tips for SSP claims

  • Where available, use the claim amend facility on the PMR system to rectify any incorrect EPS claims already submitted this month.
  • For any supplies made in accordance with SSPs, check that the correct number of patient charges are collected and declared on the end of month FP34C submission.
  • NHSBSA advise that contractors must follow the specific endorsement guidance issued with each SSP and endorsements should be clear and unambiguous – NHSBSA processing staff must be able to determine what has been supplied. NHSBSA have published information on common SSP endorsing errors they see when processing claims.
  • Any paper prescriptions with SSP claims need to be placed in the red separator provided by the NHSBSA.
  • Although an SSP cannot be used outside its period of validity, claims can be submitted up to three calendar months after expiry or withdrawal of the SSP to help manage any owings for other items issued on the same prescription form. For example, for SSP054 Clarithromycin 250mg/5ml oral suspension, which expires at 23.59pm on Friday 17 November 2023, the NHSBSA would continue to look for the “SSP” endorsement on prescriptions for Clarithromycin 250mg/5ml oral suspension that are submitted with the November batch (submitted by 5 December), December batch (submitted by 5 January) and January batch (submitted by 5 February).
  • Pharmacy contractors should declare the number of SSP claims submitted each month to reconcile against their monthly Schedule of Payments or Prescription Item (PIR) reports.
  • View our SSP submission guidance to ensure your SSP claims are appropriately submitted to NHSBSA  for reimbursement.

Additional information

Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs)

PSNC Briefing 011/21: Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) updated endorsing guidance

PSNC’s SSP FAQ page

NHSBSA SSP page

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