to think that I shouldn't have to swallow my principles to save the NHS money?

(252 Posts)
Tollund Wed 12-Dec-12 10:36:50

I was seen by a practice nurse this morning and prescribed antibiotics for my chest infection. When he wrote the prescription I said that if they were capsules with gelatine in them I couldn't take them and would need the medicine instead. He told me that he didn't know if they did or not and didn't have time to research it, and if I really couldn't bring myself to take them I'd have to ask the pharmacist what they would recommend. I've been here before so I said that they wouldn't prescribe anything and I'd end up having to come back to pick up yet another prescription. He said to go and see what they said but he wouldn't prescribe the medicine as it was more expensive. (I'm guessing he doesn't see a lot of Hindus and not sure how far he'd get suggesting that people should take things containing boiled up connective tissue and bones whether they've spent a lifetime avoiding them or not.)

So I went to the pharmacist and exactly what I had said would happen, happened and I've wasted over an hour trying to get them to liaise amongst themselves so I didn't physically need to run between the surgery and chemist to pick up prescriptions myself. (With a chest infection when it's -2!)

AIBU to think that the practice nurse was being a total arse and that I shouldn't be made to run around wasting time because he "was too busy" and clearly thought I was being stupid for not just taking the gelatine?

YABU, there are people who are being denied life saving and life prolonging treatments because of cost. It is your choice to be a vegetarian, therefore you should pay the difference between the cost of the medicine offered and the cost of the medicine that you want.

How do you feel about the fact that medicines are tested on animals?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 12-Dec-12 10:54:36

You are prepared to write a letter but you aren't prepared to pay for your own choices? hmm

Tollund Wed 12-Dec-12 10:55:40

So, to people who are saying IABU - would you still be saying this to me if I was Hindu/Muslim/Jewish etc?

On balance, YANBU. Surely this must be a problem the NHS encounters with increasingly frequency? Could you ask the practice if they have a policy in place?

I think you should have asked for a private prescription, then you will pay the cost price of the drugs.

ViperInTheManger Wed 12-Dec-12 10:57:06

Practices who deal with a lot of Hindus, Muslims, etc are very skilled at what contains what, when to take stuff during Ramadan, etc so the information is out there. Having said that most healthcare professionals only have at their fingertips the information they need most often.

In our practice we do accomodate these kind of requests but surely, if you have had this problem before, you could have found out very easily that with an antibiotic you could just have opened the capsule, tipped the powder inside into a little water and drunk that down? Problem solved.

It sounds like you are all to blame, the practice nurse and the pharmacist for not knowing/volunteering the right info and, to a point, you for wanting to stick to principles but expecting others to do everything for you to do that.

Just out of interest, if the NHS had to pay significantly more for liquid, would you be prepared to pay for your principles?

And yes, I would be saying that for religious reasons too. Just like Muslims lose money on savings accounts because they are not allowed to earn interest.

Tollund Wed 12-Dec-12 10:58:57

Viper I would of course pay for my principles - I do not consume things made from animals and if I have to go without/pay then that's what I do.

If NHS hospitals are prepared to cater to the dietary requirements of vegan/vegetarian inpatients at no additional cost, I can't see a reason not to extend the same principle to medication. I'd ask practice to clarify their policy.

And another example - I don't believe in eating factory farmed meat, so I pay more for my ethical belief.

Tollund Wed 12-Dec-12 11:00:17

Viper but I'm not sure what you mean by me "expecting others to do everything for you to do that". I raised a problem, it was dismissed which has now caused more effort for everyone.

doublecakeplease Wed 12-Dec-12 11:01:16

Could you have paid for the medicine seing as it's more expensive. Appreciate that you have principles but tbh people are being refused cancer drugs because of the cost - depends on extra cost too - few pence v lots more money.

shesariver Wed 12-Dec-12 11:01:22

Why did you say "I'm guessing he doesn't see a lot of Hindus" if youre not Hindu?? confused

I assume you are a vegetarian from a moral viewpoint (apologies if I have that wrong) in which case why is it ok for an animal to suffer to test the medicine but not ok to use and animal by product in it. I'm not being snarky I am genuinely interested in where you draw the line.

Afaik there are types of gelatine that Hindus and Muslims can have (correct me if I'm wrong).

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 12-Dec-12 11:02:25

I woudo still say the same to you if you were Hindu/Mulsim/Jewish, absolutely I would!

No adult in this country is forced into a religion they don't want to be in, we have freedom of choice. If your choice means that you want something that is more expensive, the you have the choice to stand by your principle or take what is on offer to get well.

Your choice, your financial responsibility.

Why did you say "I'm guessing he doesn't see a lot of Hindus" if youre not Hindu??

I think because Hindus may share her concerns about the meds? Could just ad easily substitute that sentence for "guessing he doesn't see a lot of veggies".

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 12-Dec-12 11:04:23

Viper I would of course pay for my principles - I do not consume things made from animals and if I have to go without/pay then that's what I do.

It's not what you're doing here. Why are you saying you are prepared to pay for your principles when you are clearly expecting the NHS to pay for them?

What medicine did you end up with and who paid for it?

Peetle Wed 12-Dec-12 11:07:05

You can open the capsules and take the medication without taking the capsule...

BridgetBidet Wed 12-Dec-12 11:09:29

Have you thought about getting a copy of the British National Formulary? It's a book that has details of all the drugs for UK prescribing in it. I'm not sure if it has details of if drugs are vegetarian or not but you could check if it did.

Actually, if it does it should have been really, really easy for the nurse to check, he should have access to a copy to look it up. I think the nurse should have checked for you TBH, I think he had a bit of an attitude not doing that.

Tollund Wed 12-Dec-12 11:09:36

At the moment I have no drugs at all, and to be honest I wasn't given the option of paying- as I said this has never been a problem before...

SolomanDaisy Wed 12-Dec-12 11:12:11

There's no real reason why the medicine should cost ten times as much, is there? Given that added together the number of vegetarians, vegans, Hindus, Muslims and Jewish people in the UK must make up a very significant portion of the population, the NHS should agree with drugs companies that vegetarian capsules or medicines are standard.

I think the advice to open a capsule is a bit like saying if you take that chicken out of the casserole, it will be vegetarian.

shesariver Wed 12-Dec-12 11:17:31

Yeh I get that pumpkin but in that case why not just say the word veggie then? Mentioning hindus confused the whole story!

It's not necessarily a solution to open the capsule and take the contents. The capsule protects the active ingredients until they reach the right part of your stomach to be absorbed.

The capsules will be produced, not taking them will not stop that.
It is more like saying you can't eat a vegetarian meal if it has touched a jelly baby...

MerryChristmasEverybody Wed 12-Dec-12 11:19:16

It is your choice to be vegetarian, not the NHS. If you want something that will cost more, then its up to you to pay the extra.

I would say the same to anybody who wouldn't take something due to religion, as well. You CHOOSE to be vegetarian, or to follow a religion.

If it was because you were allergic to an ingredient then that would be completely different.

YABVU

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