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to be annoyed with the pharmacist assistant?

(118 Posts)
holibobs Thu 09-May-13 11:45:38

I went to get my usual medication from the pharmacy. It's not a medication I'm happy to take and is a personal issue. Got to the counter to collect it and the pharmacist assistant loudly said the name of the medication, opened it up, showed me the tablets (in a busy shop - about 10 people queuing) and said 'are they working for you?'. I was utterly gobsmacked. AIBU to think she should have been discrete?

Fillyjonk75 Thu 09-May-13 15:03:33

God, I would hate to buy condoms from there.

starfishmummy Thu 09-May-13 15:04:53

I collect prescriptions for myself and ds and normally just get asked to confirm my address. Sometimes if it is a different pharmacy I might be asked if I am taking anything else, or "have you had this before" but nother mentioning what it is iyswim.
And surely any questions about the medication should be asked by a qualified pharmacist and not a pharmacy assistant?

Startail Thu 09-May-13 15:09:21

My DSIS first job was in a small village pharmacy, she always took confidentiality very seriously. Knowing which of her peers were on the pill would have made great gossip and got her sacked.

thebody Thu 09-May-13 15:09:28

If she's the counter assistant she shouldn't ask you or tell you anything.

It's a prescription so between you and your GP.

She sounds officious and I would have given her a frozen stare and not replied. Cheeky cow.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 09-May-13 15:11:05

I worked as a pharmacists assistant a few years ago and would never have dreamed of doing this! I don't know if there are new policies in place, but the main pharmacist would be the one to discuss any issues like this, not the assistant (in PRIVATE I might add!). The only thing the assistant should be checking is that the name and adress are correct, to ensure the prescription is being given to the right customer. The assistant should trust that the pharmacist has correctly followed the prescription, so I really do not understand why she has done this. Any medication should be a confidential matter regardless of whether it could be seen as embarrassing or not, so you are definitely NBU!

anothershittynickname Thu 09-May-13 15:14:04

I have NEVER in my life been asked I the meds in my / DH's / DC's prescription is correct and I've collected a few in my time.

Only ever asked to confirm my address.

YANBY - I'd definitely complain.

strawberrypenguin Thu 09-May-13 15:22:36

YANBU she sounds terrible.

I once had a lecture from a pharmacy assistant about how the medication I was picking up for my baby DS was 'wasteful' as any remaining in the bottle had to be discarded after 7 days and he should be on the more common drug given for his condition (that he was allergic to!). I was really shocked how I didn't have a massive row with her I don't know!

cowmop Thu 09-May-13 15:31:40

I always used to collect my thousands of pills from the local Lloyds pharmacy until the pharmacist insisted I sit down and do a review with him. He went through every tablet asking what it was for, how long I'd been on it etc. I didn't really get it to be honest as I have a review with my GP every 6 months and hospital consultants every 6 months and as has been said up thread, it's not like he could change anything. I've never had it anywhere else either so not sure if it's a company policy or a government one.

Having said that at least he took me into a cubby for my interrogation and didn't shout across the shop, I really can't blame you for being pissed about that!

jellybelly18 Thu 09-May-13 15:36:03

Would just like to agree that confidentiality and discretion are of the foremost importance but would like to say that it is the pharmacist / pharmacy technicians job to ask these types of questions esp. when the prescribing is slightly unusual purely as a safety net. By slightly unusual I mean for treatment outside normal age ranges than typically indicated or for different indications than usual or if in combination with other drugs etc.

digerd Thu 09-May-13 16:10:29

Very odd!? Why would she be interested if it was working for you?
If anything, I would have quietly and concerned asked, considering your age, if it was the correct prescription or was it for your mum?

We give our name /address and the item(s) are handed to us in a sealed paper bag, with a list of the enclosed items stapled on the front, as a repeat prescription form for next month.

That is not normal.

Weegiemum Thu 09-May-13 16:17:58

Afaik, pharmacists are as liable as the prescribing doctor for the medications they dispense. However, it should be the pharmacist that checks, not the counter assistant (or even dispenser).

Quite a lot of pharmacists do work alongside GPs in providing medication reviews - at my dh's surgery a pharmacist comes in for a session once a fortnight and sees patients on multiple medications, helps with changing, stopping meds etc.

But this kind of loud stuff by the staff is not on. It's not their job to ask about the name of the medicine, they should just check your identity via address, DoB etc but that is all. Complain!

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 16:23:54

madamginger and jellybelly18 I'm with you.

Your medicines are NOT between you and your GP. The Pharmacy team is there to ensure your safety - after all, your GP is not the expert in drugs, it is the Pharmacist.

The assistant is likely to have completed a course allowing her to be able to have more interaction in the clinical side of things with patients.

A lot of you here seem to have not much of an idea about how Pharmacies work. It isn't just a case of picking a box of a shelf and handing it to you.

You're right in that she should have been a bit more tactful in how she spoke - but perhaps to her she felt no reason for you to be embarrassed about your medication smile BUT it was necessary to bring something up if you are using it outside the normal age range - it is good practice to make sure the medicine given out is correct.

PastaBeeandCheese Thu 09-May-13 16:24:57

YANBU. It all sounds as though she was terribly insensitive and I wonder what she intended to say if you had said 'actually, now you ask, they aren't working'. It isn't as though she could prescribe anything else or help or advise you at all really.

Sirzy Thu 09-May-13 16:27:24

If the pharmacist has questions about your drugs then they should have discretely spoken to you.

When the pharmasist has wanted to check my sons inhalers they have offered to speak to me in the consultation room so that certainly should be offered for sometghing much more personal.

Indecisive90 Thu 09-May-13 16:37:45

YANBU to expect discretion. I think contacting the company or even the branch directly and asking to speak to the pharmacist/manager would be the right thing to do. Maybe they need to change their procedures and use the consultation room more. If it helps, chances are nobody in the shop would work out what the medicine was from the name and if they did they wouldn't care. I appreciate that it's a sensitive issue though, I once worked with a pharmacist who explained in great detail and in a very loud voice how to use thrush cream.

I'm really shocked and annoyed by posters who seem to have little to no understanding of a pharmacist's professional and clinical role. Counter assistants are trained to speak to customers/patients and identify any issues. If there are issues they can refer to the pharmacist. As experts in medicines pharmacists can of course offer advice and if necessary can refer you back to the GP or contact them on your behalf to resolve an issue.

holibobs Thu 09-May-13 16:41:43

''Your medicines are NOT between you and your GP. The Pharmacy team is there to ensure your safety - after all, your GP is not the expert in drugs, it is the Pharmacist.''

I haven't mentioned my GP MagicBagette. I said my consultant chose my medication. They are more than qualified to be an expert in the medication I need.

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 16:43:24

holibobs, I was referring to something someone else said, not your OP

bottleofbeer Thu 09-May-13 16:43:51

I went to the local chemist for some cystitis treatment once, no, not an especially embarrassing ailment but still, I'd have preferred the assistant not to shout "is this for cystitis?" across the bloody shop to the pharmacist. Everyone in the shop knew what I was there for. She was a right miserable witch her, I'm sure she did it on purpose.

holibobs Thu 09-May-13 16:43:56

Oh right. Sorry Magic.

valiumredhead Thu 09-May-13 16:45:20

I would have been pissed off too!

digerd Thu 09-May-13 16:46:48

My pharmacist adjoins the medical Practice in a small building. He or she, whoever is on duty, never discusses anything.

I was insulted by the man when, on returning home, I found one of the medications not in the bag. I phoned the reception for another prescription for the missing one.

When I had to go back to collect it, I was told it was not his responsibilty to ensure all the medications on the repeat prescription were in the bag, it was mine. I should have opened the bag and checked before leaving the shop. shock
He said it was my fault, not his.

Sirzy Thu 09-May-13 16:47:10

They are more than qualified to be an expert in the medication I need.

That doesn't mean the pharmacist doesn't have to check things are right though as mistakes are made.

My son (aged 3) is on an inhaler that isn't licensed for under 4s and has been since he was 2 prescribed by a consultant but the pharmacist still checked that this was right before giving us the inhaler. In the same way the dose has just been doubled so they checked again before dispensing.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 09-May-13 16:53:15

But Magic regardless of whether the woman thinks the OP should be embarrassed or not, she should have the common sense to see that this might be embarrassing for some people and so be discreet.

Either she's a trained professional with clinical expertise, in which case one has the right to expect the same discretion as from an HCP - or she's a counter worker who doesn't have the level of responsibility to check these things.

Indecisive90 Thu 09-May-13 16:55:54


It was his responsibility to check that all the medicines on the prescription were in the bag, not all the items on your repeat. That would be the patient's responsibility to make sure they ordered every item and the GP's to ensure they prescribed everything that was ticked. If he was cheeky that was out of order and unprofessional though.

trinity0097 Thu 09-May-13 16:55:57

I was quite surprised the other week to get my prescription for the contraceptive pill filled out in a boots in reading city centre. I was asked by the assistant all kinds of questions about my blood pressure etc, which would be questions that a doctor should ask before prescribing the drug, not in the pharmacy for a prescription that has been written by a doctor. I thought this was very thorough, but totally unnecessary too!

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