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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?

holibobs Thu 09-May-13 16:57:29

Sirzy - As I have said before I have no problem with a pharmacist checking things are ok if it's done in a professional, quiet, subtle way. Come back to me when you need to get Herpes treatment or something and see how you feel when the whole pharmacy knows your business.

The more I think of this the more annoyed I am. Plus she was a counter assistant rather than a pharmacist.

ipswitch Thu 09-May-13 17:02:01

Incredibly cheeky and nosey.
I would use a different pharmacy in future and boycott them.

Sirzy Thu 09-May-13 17:05:11

I have already said they are wrong but I was simply responding to your comment saying that it was the consultant who had made the choice of drug.

Naoko Thu 09-May-13 17:10:08

Pharmacists have an important role to play - I was once prescribed something by my GP that interacted in a dodgy manner with something else I was on, and it was picked up by the pharmacist when I went to collect it. I went back to my GP, she apologised profusely and said the pharmacist was quite right, I was prescribed an alternative medication and all was well, so in that case I was glad the pharmacist took the time to talk to me.

In your case, however, the pharmacy assistant should've exercised more discretion if she felt she needed to ask those questions (and I do actually think it's ok for an assistant to flag something up, if they're wrong someone more qualified will then take a look and say so, if they're right, I'd rather they said something even though it's not technically their job), so YANBU.

madamginger Thu 09-May-13 17:10:47

How do you know she was a counter assistant? She could have been a prereg pharmacist (ie one in training) or a dispenser or like me an ACT technician.
I really hate that people have this idea that pharmacy staff are just shop workers and just stick labels on boxes.

BookFairy Thu 09-May-13 17:13:45

YADNBU. Something similar has happened to me in chain pharmacies. I have called their head offices as I was furious. If you have not asked for advice then they have no business announcing your medication to the world. If they so felt the urge they could ask if you knew how to take the tablets without using the name of it.

It won't help you but I once had a pharmacist assistant loudly ask in front of a large queue: "Oh are you sure this is right? I didn't know they still make contraceptive diaphragms."

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 17:14:25

trinity, it is not totally unnecessary.

You are right, it is the GP's job to find these things out before prescribing. But you would be surprised how many mistakes are made by GPs!

As I said before, the pharmacist is the expert in medicines, not the GP.

It is also the Pharmacist's role to double check all medicines are safe for the patient and the correct medicine for their condition, age, allergies etc.

It is good practice to do this. Otherwise it is the Pharmacist that is held responsible, not the GP.

Although I am aware that the vast majority of the population are completely unaware of this.

holibobs Thu 09-May-13 17:16:46

madamginger - I certainly don't feel that pharmacists are shop assistants. They are highly skilled and qualified people. Perhaps I did assume this girl was an assistant but I guess I could be wrong. I was there about 10 minutes and she took money and restocked shelves. There were 2 others in lab coats in the back. I assume these were the pharmacists,

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 17:18:18

holibob, generally in community pharmacies the Pharmacist wears smart work clothes.

The dispensing assistant etc. will wear a uniform.

toffeelolly Thu 09-May-13 17:31:44

YANBU. Just why could she not have took you aside and asked you , it's just not on the way she just shouted it out for all to hear. She need's to be told that this is not on .

MabliD Thu 09-May-13 17:39:30

yabu, sorry. It's the pharmacist's job to check medication is right and/or effective. There's a big difference between a 'counter assistant' and an ACT too, for example. It's awful that you felt embarrassed, but the consultation room isn't always an option - if it's busy for example or in use for a patient whose need for privacy might be greater e.g. ehc or methadone patients. Complain if you want to of course but they will still check, that's their job.

BookFairy Thu 09-May-13 18:03:26

MabliD so it's the job of pharmacy staff to begin discussing a person's medication, without first asking if that person has taken the medication before or if they need advice? Checking a person knows how to take their medication: yes. Naming the medication in the earshot of other customers: no.

thermalsinapril Thu 09-May-13 18:15:54

YANBU at all. I've never heard of anyone being asked this. It's not part of their job. The prescription is already written, and their job is to dispense it, not quiz the customer about it!

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 18:22:34

thermalsinapril, if you don't have any sort of knowledge of the topic, which you clearly don't, why bother to post?

Indecisive90 Thu 09-May-13 18:23:56


'It's not part of their job. The prescription is already written, and their job is to dispense it, not quiz the customer about it!'

Do you really believe that's the entire job description of a pharmacist? Purely to dispense exactly what a doctor has prescribed without using any common sense or clinical knowledge to check the prescription? I am honestly interested to know what you think their job is.

Sirzy Thu 09-May-13 18:26:07

Thermals - I suggest you read the whole thread before commenting about the role of the pharmacist.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 09-May-13 18:28:18

Yanbu I'm 25 and I'm on beta blockers which is quite rare and the pharmacist quizzed me on why I needed them before she would hand them over it made me feel like I was trying to get a fraudulent prescription

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 18:31:22

wannabe, it is not particularly rare for a younger person to be on beta-blockers.

They can be used in lots of different conditions - I'm not sure where you get that from.

Again, the pharmacist was looking out for your safety.

NorthernLurker Thu 09-May-13 18:32:58

'It's not part of their job. The prescription is already written, and their job is to dispense it, not quiz the customer about it!'

Yes well your way of doing this would kill people. Prescribers make mistakes. The skill and expertise of a pharmacist (who is legally responsible for what they prescribe) is in ensuring they dispense safely.

In this case the OP was getting a prescription which is typically not prescribed to her age group. Absolutely correct to check the name of the medication etc. If she feels her privacy was infringed then she should (and has) pass that feedback on. She'd complain a damn sight more though if she was given the wrong drugs because the pharmacist didn't do their job

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 09-May-13 18:33:44

magic that's good to know I feel like a right old lady been on them the pharmacist said it was highly unusual for someone of my age to be on them

thermalsinapril Thu 09-May-13 18:34:48

> I'm really shocked and annoyed by posters who seem to have little to no understanding of a pharmacist's professional and clinical role.

Why? confused Do you have an in-depth understanding of the job description of everyone you meet? If there are things patients should know about the "pharmacist's professional and clinical role" then why isn't this made clearly available in pharmacies, instead of patients having to find out in an embarrassing way like the OP? It's not good service to be conceited about one's job role, to the point of thinking everyone else should automatically know about it.

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 18:38:47

But thermals, surely it is not the right way to go about it to say their job is (what you were implying) easy, and not a complicated and difficult job with a lot of pressure and responsibility?

It has only been you (among others) who have jumped to conclusions about the work of a pharmacist.

As you say, you don't have an understanding of the job. You are in no place to judge if you don't know what you're talking about

NorthernLurker Thu 09-May-13 18:39:33

'why isn't this made clearly available in pharmacies'

What you mean like the whacking great certificates they have on display detailing their qualification and the vast range of leaflets you have to fight your way past pointing out that your pharmacist is qualified to advise you on x, y and z. Not to mention the fact that any time you'll be in a pharmacy the pharmacist will invariably be advising a customer on what they can use for their complaint. And the fact that all the NHS resources online and on paper will point to a pharmacy as one of the places you should go for help and advice. Yup. It's really hard to know that a pharmacist is a useful sort of HCP hmm

MagicBaguette Thu 09-May-13 18:40:45

wannabe, one of my friends was taking a beta-blocker from the age of 15 to prevent migraines.

She later developed asthma, and is now taking a low-dose antidepressant that also works for preventing migraines!

Drugs have loads of different uses - but it is good practice for the pharmacist to check it is suitable smile

BookFairy Thu 09-May-13 18:41:19

Some people won't be bothered if others in the pharmacy overhear, other people will. Surely this should be taken into consideration by a pharmacist? Sometimes I have a pharmacist show me the box and ask if I have taken this medication before. This is fine. I have also had a pharmacist ask loudly (in front of other customers) how long I have had epilepsy. This is not fine.

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