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To be pissed off with the GP surgery?

(53 Posts)
dontrunwithscissors Mon 01-Feb-16 13:33:30

I submitted an online request to my GP for a repeat prescription of levothyroxine on Friday. It was for 100mg tablets and 25mg tablets. I've taken a 125mg dose for 2 years. Repeat prescriptions are for 3 months at a time.

I've just got an email saying the GP won't issue 25mg tablets as I haven't had any prescribed since July 2015. This is utter rubbish! I visited my GP and got a renewal of all my meds prescribed (I take 12 different meds) in October because I was going abroad for a month. This isn't the first time I've had problems with repeat prescriptions. They've randomly issued wrong types of medications and wrong doses before. Each time I've had to traipse in and see my 'good' GP who is very confused by the mistakes and sorts it out.

I explained very calmly to the receptionist that the systerm must be wrong because I have definitely been taking a 125mg dose every day. I explained to her that it's obviously impossible for me to have taken that dose if I hadn't been given any 25mg tablets for 7 months. I suggested that maybe there's been an error on the system. Apparently that's utterly impossible. The receptionist was insistent that I could not have been taking 25mg tablets and they couldn't issue more. There was an inference that perhaps I was confused. hmm

So now 1) I'm going to have to 'waste' a GP appointment to sort this out; 2) and take time off work to do it; 3) I'm going to run out of 25mg tablets in the meantime.

AIBU to think this is a ridiculous waste of everyone's time and be frustrated with the attitude that technology can never be wrong. angry

DamedifYouDo Mon 01-Feb-16 13:36:46

Call the practice manager - do you have the last 25mg bottle / box with pharmacy label attached that you can photograph and email to them as proof (not that you should need to but it would prove them wrong).

BeaufortBelle Mon 01-Feb-16 13:38:36

Can't you ask for a telephone consultation or hand deliver a note tonight asking for the repeat to be sent directly to your usual chemist and for them to confirm it's been done.

How many tabs do you have left? If not many 25s, I'd invest in a pill cutter - they're £1.99 - to see you through until it's sorted out.

Too normal I'm afraid. The receptionist should have referred to a doctor.

shinynewusername Mon 01-Feb-16 13:41:06

I am a GP. It is certainly possible for the software to be wrong - a prescriber can accidentally delete an "issue" of a drug that is on repeat prescription. It sounds as if this is probably what happened to your last issue, so it is no longer showing up.

So the receptionist may be right that the computer says no issue since July, but she is wrong to suggest that you must be mistaken. As Damed says, ask to speak to the PM.

LineyReborn Mon 01-Feb-16 13:43:00

This isn't Systmonline by any chance, is it? My GP practice just switched to this and it's been much more difficult to order repeat items. So yes, I am having to waste a doctor's time now sorting out very routine stuff.

honeysucklejasmine Mon 01-Feb-16 13:44:08

Ha! I am also having trouble with my thyroxine today as it happens. I put a repeat in last week, and apparently although it's been authorised they have neglected to send it to the pharmacy. I ran out yesterday and will now have to wait till tomorrow afternoon to get it.

Also the notes on my script say "order every three months" but they only ever dispense 28 at a time. Then passive aggressively highlight the "three month" note as if its my problem for ordering too soon.

I have another item on my prescription that I take for chronic health complaint, which they still insist on only dispensing a month at a time which is so frustrating.

I have arranged a telephone appointment for tomorrow to ask for some other medication as I know it shouldn't be a problem and I don't want to wait three weeks and waste a doctors appointment to ask for it.

I feel your pain OP!

BeaufortBelle Mon 01-Feb-16 13:53:46

I do wonder why we worry about wasting GP time. Neither they nor their staff seem to give two hoots about worrying patients' time. Oh, silly me, we aren't important. I always forget that.

When my thyroid was diagnosed 23 years ago the Queen's physician Sir Richard Baylis advised thus. "It's one little pill which is as cheap as chips and has a long shelf life. It will trouble you one a year for a repeat prescription and a blood test.". I told my GP this and he said very patronisingly, we cannot prescribe more than three months' at a time because the dose may need to change". When I said it hadn't for 23 years, he said it would probably need a change soon in middle age. When I ventured then it might because to test my blood every three months, he said it would be a waste of time confused

I'm glad GPs have time to muck about with thus; I'd be gladder if they respected my time as much as theirs and ad they are the architects of their own overwork, perhaps they could stop whingeing about it.

dontrunwithscissors Mon 01-Feb-16 13:53:50

I've just searched for the box, but must have chucked it out. I have 7 x 25mg tablets left. I've just looked at my repeat prescription print-out and it states that the last issue of 25mg tablets was in July 2015 so I'm not doubting that this is what's on the system. But I know that I've been taking those 25mg tablets every day and I know I went to my regular GP and asked her to issue all of my meds at once in October. (I do this and photocopy the prescription whenever I go abroad in case I'm questioned about the shed-load of meds I have).

It was the woman's derisory tone and mention of being "confused" when I suggested that I had to have been prescribed more recently than July & I know I had everything reissued in October (which fits with the 3 month repeats). And, for the record, I was very clear and calm about it!

The surgery has phone appointments, but there's always at least a 2 week wait & more so with my regular GP, who is very popular. If the receptionist refuses to pass a message on (as they'vre done before), my only option to get this sorted within the next week is to drag my backside to the surgery for 7.45am to get an on-the-day appointment.

goodnightdarthvader1 Mon 01-Feb-16 13:59:46

I suspect this issue is with the receptionist. There's a new one at our GP surgery, and she cancelled my prescription request of 3 items as there was a query on 1 item, leaving me short of one medicine.

I made an online prescription request for medicine A (which had been prescribed by my obstetrician so wasn't on my repeat prescription with the GP) and she wrote on the system "maybe patient meant Medicine B", which 1) wasn't remotely similar in name and 2) didn't even treat the same condition (which she wouldn't know, being only a receptionist and NOT A FUCKING GP).

Then I went in with the medicine bottle for Medicine A AND my maternity notes for her to photocopy so I could request Medicine A. When I arrived days later to collect my script, I found not one but two prescriptions waiting for me for Medicine C and D, neither of which I had requested.

Fucking useless woman.

shinynewusername Mon 01-Feb-16 14:02:19

OK, your GP probably issued the October meds as an "acute" (one-off) prescription, rather than a re-issue of your repeat script. That's not an error, but it can be harder to trace the prescriptions than if they are all done as re-issues.

Contrary to Beaufort's kind words, GPs - especially popular ones - are very busy and deal with more than 100 repeat prescriptions a day, so this sort of thing will happen from time to time. However, that is no reason why you should suffer and have to go to an early appointment. I would be mortified if any patient of mine had to do so. Any reasonable practice will deal with loads of prescription queries a day. Call back and insist on speaking to the practice manager.

FoxesSitOnBoxes Mon 01-Feb-16 14:08:11

That is really annoying and you're totally right to be pissed off. I'm a GP (on maternity leave hence fannying round on here). When I'm at work signing thyroxine prescriptions I check the review date, I look at when thyroxine levels were last checked and I look at the date of last issue. If anything is amiss I ask to speak to/ see the patient. I wouldn't have just signed that prescription if it looked like you had been under treated.
Totally not your fault, totally right of you to be pissed off but not necessarily the fault of the GP or the receptionist. Maybe the computer system is crap, maybe someone accidentally deleteded the last issue date. GP is absolutely right to check with you and receptionist is just passing that on. They are probably also pissed off about these errors. It happens all the time. The NHS is knackered and everyone is stressed. Please do speak to the practice manager because I agree that this shouldn't happen but these annoying problems are often compounded by a stretched and stressed system not being able to flex enough to allow a GP a couple of minutes to just give you a ring to sort it out.

BeaufortBelle Mon 01-Feb-16 14:12:14

The point is shinynewusername is that there is no need to issue levothroxine every two or three months. For the stable patient once a year would suffice and it would save patients and doctors time. The doctor never so much as asks how I am in any event so it's not as though they actually care whether I'm on an optimal dose or not.

My consultant endocrinologist advised I only needed one prescription a year; most GPs tell me they aren't experts so I fail to understand why their advice trumps his especially as they don't want to test the levels more than annually. It's idiotic.

dontrunwithscissors Mon 01-Feb-16 14:13:13

I don't see why it would be issued as an 'acute' prescription. (I've had this before with a medication that had to be funded separately).

The thyroxine has been on repeat for 2 years. The reason I can be so sure it was issued in October is that I had a face-to-face appointment with my GP and aske her to issue all 12 of my medications at the same time. I can't see why she would randomly go into the system and select the 25mg tablets as an acute issue while I sat there with her. I'm always really cautious taking my meds abroad so ensures I took each type in its box with a copy of the corresponding prescription.

I'm annoyed with myself as I had a photocopy of that prescription, but threw it away recently. I guess Boots might have a record of what they issued? Altjough that probably won't be good enough for the receptionist.

dawnviews Mon 01-Feb-16 14:16:01

I'm so pleased my doctor doesn't have a receptionist, (small practice) if somethings wrong I can speak directly to him.

dontrunwithscissors Mon 01-Feb-16 14:21:06

Just to clarify, the GP hasn't checked with me. They just issued an email stating that my 25mg tablets will not be issued. It's one of those email addresses that state not to reply.

I understand that mistakes happen, but it's the insistence that the mistake has to lie with me. And that the fact I supposedly haven't taken 25mg tablets for a while is a good enough reason to just remove them without any medical justification!

I suspect it might be one particular GP who has previously issued me with 200mg extra of a particular medication than should be prescribed. Another time, he randomly changed some of my meds to the extended release version. Absolutely no reason whatsoever for this. It's quite worrying that a GP could pay so little attention to prescribing what are quite dangerous medications. Obviously, I picked up on it immediately, but not everyone would do that.

shinynewusername Mon 01-Feb-16 14:21:58

Dontrun it is really easily done, even when you issue the drugs from a repeat screen. Sometimes it is intentional if the issue is a bit early (e.g. for a holiday), to over-ride the system trying to tell you the drug isn't due yet.

You don't have to believe me though and apologies for trying to help - my mistake smile

LieselMeminger Mon 01-Feb-16 14:22:54

The chemist you pick your tablets up from will have a record of when you've had them and also the gp that prescribed them. You could give them a ring, it only takes them a few seconds to check on the system and they may ring the gp for you.

I once had similar issue when trying to get the pill. I'd been given six month scripts for years, then at a check up, my doctor said he'd never ever given me it before, so I'd need monthly checks for x amount of time. He absolutey refused that he'd been giving me it for the last five years and said I was lying.

When I went to the chemist with my months script, I said "gp has just called me a liar saying I've not been coming here for these the last five years" The pharmacist was able to bring up all my claimed scripts, with the doctors name on and rang the surgery to put them right.

I absolute refusal to check his facts, not admit his mistake, make me lose trust in that gp and I switched surgeries. I know some meds people may get addicted and try to pull a fast one for extra scripts but the contraceptive? If he'd bothered to look at his own system he'd have seen I was telling the truth.

dontrunwithscissors Mon 01-Feb-16 14:27:30

Sorry shiney, I didn't mean to sound snappy. This place has a record of making dangerous mistakes (issuing 200mg more of lithium, for example).

The thyroxine problem is small, by comparison & im not bothered much by the original mistake--more the fact that I have to spend forever getting someone to correct it. I know how busy GPs are, which is why they could just sort it out with a quick phone call. Instead I'm going to have to take up a much-needed appointment from someone else.

shinynewusername Mon 01-Feb-16 14:28:44

No worries - I do get how annoying it is smile

dontrunwithscissors Mon 01-Feb-16 14:31:49

liesel, that's shocking.

I really need to get a life grin. I take a lot of medication, which is really essential, and some of it is dangerous to just stop taking. I'm very much on the ball with it all, but i get a bit fed up of having to 'manage' them. That's why I'm pissed off at having to spend even more time.

I might photograph my prescriptions in future so I have a record!

Sidge Mon 01-Feb-16 14:34:02

Beaufort in some areas the prescribing auditors will not allow yearly prescribing and may fine GPs that do so. There tend to be limits on 2 or 3 month prescribing at a time, up to 6 months and rarely 12 for contraception.

A hospital consultant can say what they like, but they're not the ones signing the prescription, aren't paying for it, and aren't the ones being monitored and regulated by CCG prescribing authorities.

dontrun most routine prescriptions are dealt with and issued by prescription clerks, and signed by GPs who won't necessarily see the original request so won't know that your 25mcg dose is "missing". Call back, ask to speak to the prescription clerk, and if no joy then the practice manager.

Regarding your prescription in October, on some primary care clinical computer systems acute medication issues come up on a different screen to repeat issues, and the GP can tick a different box to issue it. So if the clerk didn't 'click through' to acute issues they wouldn't see the issue that was done by the GP in October. That doesn't excuse them thinking you're confused though!

(Apologies for how many times I typed 'issues' there...)

LieselMeminger Mon 01-Feb-16 14:38:04

I should add, that the reason my gp would not look at his system was he insisted he would remember me because of how my face looked!!! I have BellsPalsy and my face noticably droops in cold weather, which it happened to be that day.

So not only did he make me angry by calling me a liar (if he'd said something like "your mistaken" it wouldn't be so bad) I felt like shit with what he sad about my face, and took away the little bit of confidence I had about people gawping at my face.

Micah Mon 01-Feb-16 14:45:51

Make sure you are using mcg (microgram) and not mg (milligram).

If they are saying you haven't been prescribed 25mg, they would be correct, as its 25 mcg.

Its a common misunderstanding between patients as hcp, especially when the hcp has no drug knowledge.

dontrunwithscissors Mon 01-Feb-16 14:54:28

Yes, 25mcg. I don't have to supply the dose when requesting repeats as the information is pre-populated on the form. I just add a tick next to the ones I need.

ClarenceTheLion Mon 01-Feb-16 15:05:02

Mine (before I gave up on levo altogether) was a monthly prescription, for ten years. I had no idea some people got theirs quarterly! Is that the norm?

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