Tuesday, 5 July 2011

More NHS rant

For some time, I've been ordering my repeat prescriptions 4 weeks before I need them. This is after the experience of having the supplier to the pharmacy change the tablet size resulting in a 3 week delay and lots of aggro with everyone. Initially, the PCT, blocked one of the items saying I was ordering the items early. I responded in writing with an official complaint, copies to surgery and pharmacy that this was because they couldn't get their act in gear and supply the required medicines in a human lifespan. Silence from the other end, missing item supplied.

Then the doctor decided he wanted to see me about the colonoscopy mentioned earlier, the report for which showed that there was, as predicted, nothing wrong. The prescription was shorted again. Again the note to patient was on the original receipt which I don't see. When I got in, I pointed out that they a) have my work and home phone numbers, b) have my email address and c) that I never see the b****y prescription because of the way the system works. He apologises, but then tells me it's good news and proceeds to read me the consultant's report. I point out that it says on it cc: and that I have already read it for myself and that being a graduate, I've actually managed to master the art of reading a letter, so why a) short my prescription and b) take my time and his to do this? Silence and a shuffling of papers.

The latest episode with my local surgery is to do once again with my repeat prescription. The prescription is collected by the pharmacy and dispensed by them ready for collection. I never see the prescription. I have a lot of medicines: 5 sets of tablets, 2 sets of inhalers, 2 sets of unguents and 'surgical hosiery' - the latter I make last as long as possible, whilst still effective.

The pharmacy, as usual are short an item that takes until my next visit to get. It's only when I get home and unpack the two bags and check that I find that I'm missing my asthma inhalers - the blue ones used to relieve an attack. No note, no nothing. I try to ring the pharmacy for five days to find out if there was a note on the thing. No reply. So I have to take a trip to see them. They can't find it, but: "Couldn't have been on the prescription." Now, as you know, this shorting has happened before, so I go into the surgery. "No reason not to have supplied according to your medical record here?". I fill out another request. I go home, I check online and check the history; the prescription is flagged "partially approved"". I call the surgery and ask to speak to my doctor; he rings back and says he'll write me a prescription. I point out that there is an obvious flaw in the system and that unless it is fixed, I will permanently get my prescriptions one short. He says he'll get it faxed to the pharmacy. I respond that that is not the point, that 3 weeks after the original request, a visit to the surgery, umpteen phone calls, two visits to the pharmacy, another phone call to/from him that the SYSTEM ISN'T WORKING. That because I have so little faith that's why I order early. That this is in fact taking them and me and the pharmacy more effort than me going into the surgery, seeing him once every two months, and hand-delivering the prescription and collecting the medicines. He says he'll get someone to look into it.

Not a happy bunny, so I call the practice manager; I point all this out and she admits this isn't the first time it's happened. I respond that if someone puts a flag on a computer record and doesn't remove it then it will go on for ever; that this flag is not in my medical record so it must be the admin person responsible for flagging the online record directly. I am assured that this will be resolved. We'll see in about 5 weeks time. It's not just the waste of my time that makes me angry, but also the waste of everyone else's time, all because the scrofulous, semi-literate, incompetent person dealing with their IT used a persistent and not a temporary flag.