A prescription for hassle

A friend of mine recently signed up her and her child for electronic prescriptions. This means that when she takes a repeat prescription to her GP, once it is vetted by a doctor, it will whizz straight to the pharmacy that she named, and then is automatically filled. The trouble is, it doesn’t seem to work like that.

This week she submitted two repeat prescriptions, one for her, and one for her child. A couple of days later she went to the pharmacy to find that her child’s prescription had been filled and was ready and waiting, while hers was not there. So she had to waste her time by going to the GP surgery to be told that the doctor had not had their smart card on them when reviewing the prescription and so was not able to forward it to the pharmacy. This was also a waste of time for the surgery reception staff who had to deal with this visit. This is not the first time, and not the first time that some prescriptions submitted have been sent over and not others.

The problems are that:

  1. The system to send prescriptions doesn’t work reliably, and
  2. There is no notification about where a prescription is in the system

The notifications could be emails or texts to notify that a prescription is:

  • Received
  • Approved and sent to the pharmacy
  • Filled by the pharmacy and waiting for collection

If the system worked predictably then there would be less need for notifications, but it doesn’t.

My friend was thinking of taking her and her family off the electronic prescription service and going back to schlepping to the GP surgery to collect prescriptions to take them to the pharmacy herself. At least that way she would know what was happening and didn’t spend time going to the chemist, only to have to go back to the surgery to find the prescription.

Sometimes a potentially good system that is badly implemented, is worse than a bad system that is predictable.



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