Saturday, 30 January 2010


One of the problems of suffering from a chronic, medicated illness is the need for regular trips to the pharmacy to get prescriptions fulfilled. It’s a problem because, often, our life-sustaining medications and supplies appear to be regarded as luxuries and non-essentials by many of those charged with providing them in a timely manner. Personally, I have experienced nothing but grief in the past six months or more, trying to get the things I need to keep me functioning day-by-day, and this has been principally due to the inability of my local pharmacy to fulfil their promises.

The pharmacy is situated right next door to my GP surgery, so it is logical that this is where I should go to collect my supplies – me, and thousands of other patients. As a consequence, they are always extremely busy, and efficiency appears severely lacking. I have had to return on numerous occasions to collect missing items – often more than once when the items have still not arrived by, or even after, the promised date and time. Recently, I was promised a solution to the missing item and waiting problems. I could leave my prescription with the pharmacy, instead of taking it to the surgery, they would ensure the items were in stock and get the prescription signed by the GP, and I could return three days later to pick it up with no wait.

Unfortunately, this has not worked at all. On the last two occasions since this new procedure was initiated I have had items missing and had to return, or had to wait forty minutes because the order had not been filled. I feel I have no choice but to take my business elsewhere – I would rather a forty minute walk to a more efficient pharmacy tan a forty minute wait for items haven’t been ordered. Unfortunately, my experience has been repeated by many, many people up and down the country.

So what’s the title of this post about then? Well, on the diabetes support forum we have a member who actually works in a pharmacy, albeit a hospital one not serving the general public. Rachel T is able to give us the story from her side of the fence, giving us the lowdown on availability, problems encountered with suppliers, use of certain drugs and their substitutes – in short, a mine of information and a great perspective on how things operate from her point of view., and always conveyed with great humour You then realise that it’s not the counter staff at your local pharmacy that are generally at fault, but often the management structure, or supply lines, or many other things, and this can reduce the ire you emanate to a degree. So, the following poem is dedicated to Rachel T, with many thanks for her input and, above all, her friendship!

She’s our pharma-dalai-lama
And she blesses us with karma
We’re so glad she’s not a farmer
That’s our lovely Rachel T!
Should we have prescription dramas,
She’ll explain and make us calmer,
Though our stories do alarm her,
Just how poor service can be!

Her careful explanations
To our diabetic nation
Fill us all with admiration
For she understands our plight!
She delivers her perspective
Which will make us more reflective
And we temper our invective
At the next prescription fight!

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