In order the manage additional demand for end of life medicines, and ensure safe, equitable and compassionate care for patients, the Association of Palliative Medicine, Royal College of GPs, Hospice UK and the Association of Supportive and Palliative Care Pharmacy, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, have published: Priority medicines for palliative and end of life care during a pandemic

This clinical guidance for essential end of life medicines, which sets out the first and second choices for these medicines, will enable the NHS to conserve supplies, switch to alternatives drugs when required and minimise waste. This is also being used to guide the purchasing of medicines for the UK.  

The clinical guidance aims to support healthcare professionals working in palliative and end of life care across hospital, community, social care and hospice settings to work together in managing additional demand on end of life medicines due to COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, across many clinical specialties, there is a need to adapt clinical practice to respond to the situation and ensure patient care guidelines are consistent, equitable, safe and appropriate.

CCGs have already been asked to work with providers to establish local hubs to ensure rapid access to priority end of life medicines for patients. These hubs can be in community pharmacy, GP practice, community hospital, acute or other settings where palliative medicines (including controlled drugs) can be safely and legally stored and rapidly released when needed.

A standard operating procedure for Running a medicines re-use scheme in a care home or hospice setting was published by the Department for Health and Social Care on 28 April 2020.