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Getting Medicines

To be honest, if I wasn’t committed to taking my medicines I would stop right now. I am tired with the endless routine of dropping in the repeat slip, picking it up in 48 hours, dropping it in the pharmacy and collecting it in 24 hours. It is a process that seems archaic in a technological age. It is a process which works on Practice and Pharmacy opening hours, doctor’s availability to sign the prescription and the Pharmacist ordering and the wholesaler delivering and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

It is a process that continually reminds me that I am ill – have long term conditions. I might just be waiting for them to catch up on me.

I don’t need a pharmacist or a nurse or even a receptionist to tell me how important they are – I know that. I don’t need someone to frighten me with the problems that I would get if I stop them – I have that firmly hidden in the back of my mind. I don’t need someone to tell me about monitoring – I know that as well and I quietly phone up to get a blood test form and phone in to get the results. My GP knows that I am competent with my medicines and I appreciate his care and concern – he really is a fine fellow – yes that’s you Peter!

I begrudgingly pay the prescription tax – fortunately I can afford it. I don’t complain about it, even when patients with some long term conditions such as hypothyroidism get all their medicines free. I don’t scoff when politicians say it is important to stamp down on prescription tax avoidance and we should tax the unwell in our society.

But I work and have a busy job – the whole rigmarole of getting my prescription is a nightmare. I have to be organised a week in advance and find time to do all the silly collection stuff. I have run out and got an emergency supply, but that is hardly good form for the ex-head of medicines management. I have seriously thought of trying to get a couple of months in advance – but should I stockpile my medicines when the NHS is tight for money. I estimated that there is £1b of NHS money in cupboards due to stockpiling. I called this ‘inappropriate capital investment in medicines’ in a recent blog. People make the NHS invest in medicines because the system is archaic. I am seriously thinking of joining their ranks – it might just relieve the pressure I feel in getting my medicines.

So why can’t my prescription be on-line – why can’t I order what I want when I want it? Just one line, if that is all I want and not the whole lot. Could I reduce the whole system down to one visit to a community pharmacy? I guess that I could – I could leave it with my community pharmacist and they would sort it all out for me. It seems to be a wonderful service, but not for me – I am a little bit control-freak and like to know where I am up to. So why can’t I make my medicines pop through my letterbox when I need them. For heaven sakes, I get most other things on line today – and most have a next day service. I could pay my prescription tax on line and I would even add a small delivery charge.

Come on – it is not rocket science – and it could just save the NHS millions of pounds!

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About markmandc (251 Articles)
A pharmacist with experience working in secondary care, primary care, community pharmacy and general practice.

2 Comments on Getting Medicines

  1. My practice offers online appointments (weeks in advance), online repeat prescription ordering, online access to test results, and online access to my records (albeit limited access).

    This is not an NHS issue per se – the systems are already available, it’s up to the practice to enable them.

    • Jonathan – I do see your point about some of the technology. Your practice must be much more advanced than mine. But EPS was launched in 2005 and it is still not widely implemented in the NHS.
      You may blame practices and individual GPs for their tardiness in bringing in technology, but when it gets in the way of adherence or contributes to a huge waste of time and money, then surely it must be an issue for the NHS. Perhaps this will be an interesting task for the Area Teams?

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