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CPhO issues opioid substitution guidance ahead of bank holiday


CPhO issues opioid substitution guidance ahead of bank holiday

Pharmacies should use their “professional discretion” in deciding when to dispense opioid substitution prescriptions in light of the short-notice bank holiday next Monday, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb has said.

In a statement to contractors earlier today (September 14), Mr Webb said pharmacies should note whether a prescription for opioid substitution therapy (OST) carries the Home Office approved working ‘Please dispense instalments due on pharmacy closed days on a prior suitable day,’ and to make appropriate plans if it does.

However, not all prescriptions will contain the direction to supply in advance of the last-minute bank holiday on Monday September 19, when many pharmacies are expected to close.

“We recognise that this client group are often vulnerable with multi-morbidities and that the risk to them may be significant,” said Mr Webb. 

“You should therefore exercise your professional discretion in determining when to make an instalment supply for the Bank Holiday Monday.

“Make the care of the patient your first priority and consider the potential impact of both making the supply in advance and of not making the supply in your decision-making process.

“The exceptional circumstances that led to the Bank Holiday and its short notice may inform your decision.”

Pharmacies that decide it is “professionally appropriate” to supply in advance of the bank holiday are advised to seek the agreement of the prescriber or a person designated by them, record the decision in the patient’s record and, where the supply interval for liquid preparation changes, to consider supplying each dose in separate containers.

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