As a further update to our article about Monday 19th September being declared a Bank Holiday at short notice, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer David Webb has issued a statement about the dispensing of controlled drugs in instalments. This makes provision for pharmacists to make instalment supplies in advance of the Bank Holiday, at their discretion.

“Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) prescriptions with instalments for Bank Holiday Monday 19 September 2022

Many instalment prescriptions have already been issued in advance of knowledge of the upcoming Bank Holiday. Where they contain the Home Office approved wording “Please dispense instalments due on pharmacy closed days on a prior suitable day” then you will need to plan to make these supplies at an appropriate time. This wording would also permit the supply of the initial dose of a prescription starting on the Bank Holiday Monday where the date of the signature is before this.

We are aware however that not all prescriptions will contain such a direction to support the supply, in advance, of a dose for Monday 19 September where the supplying pharmacy is closed.

We recognise that this client group are often vulnerable with multi-morbidities and that the risk to them may be significant. 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.

Where you determine that it is professionally appropriate to make a supply in advance of the Bank Holiday:

Your local substance misuse service may have already contacted you to advise that they support this approach. If they have not you may where possible choose to contact them to seek their agreement.
Any discussion and decision must be documented in the patient’s record (any decision not to make a supply and the rationale should also be recorded).
Where a decision is taken to change the intervals of supply for a liquid preparation the pharmacist must consider supplying it in separate containers for each dose.

Statement from David Webb, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England”


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