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to think my dh should not have to buy his own dressings after an NHS op yesterday

60 replies

steffanny · 09/05/2011 18:00

My dh had a large abcess drained under GA yesterday.

He went to GP surgery today for the nurse to re pack and dress the wound and needs to go every day for a week.

The nurse told him they 'do not stock dressings' and sent him off with a script for several items to dress his wound with all week including the gloves required. This cost him approx £25.

Is this right ? It seems absurd that nurses at the surgery do not have dressings or is this the norm ???? And gloves surely the surgery has those in stock.

OP posts:

Punkatheart · 09/05/2011 18:03

Sorry - 'tis fairly standard but it will of course depend on the GP. I too have had this experience. I suppose they would say that they are a surgery, not a hospital. Stock is limited. Would be interested to hear from anyone who works in a GP practice though...


boysrock · 09/05/2011 18:05

That is normal, dressings are prescription items in exactly the same way antibotics are, and very expensive so he's got off light compared to buying them over the counter. Depending on local policyand location of treatment sterile packs can also be prescribed. As I say that depends on local policy.

I would recommend he treat himself to 3 month prepayment card though. Abscess can take a few weeks to heal.


LordOfTheFlies · 09/05/2011 18:13

I don't work in a GP practice but I am in NHS health.We ask our patients to get dressings from GP for ongoing treatment-we have a limited budget but obviously have to find the optimum dressing for the wound,not gloves though,we have them and I should've thought the practise nurse would tooConfused.Most of our patients are diabetic so don't pay prescriptions anyway .


boysrock · 09/05/2011 18:20

I dont work in a gp practice but have been community based for years, I suspect its because the gp doesn't want to pay for gloves out of their budget. If the op's dh has a treatment room around I suspect he wouldn't have to pay for the gloves.


atswimtwolengths · 09/05/2011 18:24

If you look [[ here] you'll see the pre-payment certificate is valid for three months and they will backdate it if you act quickly. Sounds horrible for him - hope he's better soon.


atswimtwolengths · 09/05/2011 18:24



missslc · 09/05/2011 18:26

In the states so every time we go into hospital we pay 70 quid- and since our son has asthma this is a regular bill and we are on a cheap health insurance package-so I will never complain about the low costs of the NHS again- just the quality of care certainly at the 'London' hospital I had the misfortune of encountering.

25 quid sounds cheap to be honest!


heliumballoons · 09/05/2011 18:29

That surprises me I didn't have the same experience - but then it was 4 years ago so maybe policy has changed? It makes sense though to get it on perscription reading what other posters have said.

DS cut his chin open last week and I bought the plasters he needed to cover it (the stitches that is). They didn't give me any and I didn't think of getting a persciption. Not that I think they would. Grin


inchoccyheaven · 09/05/2011 19:02

When I had an infection lymph node in my groin operated on I had to get it dressed every day for a few weeks and never had to buy any dressing items or gloves. In fact when I had to go to a different health practice on a saturday to get it done, my usual nurse gave me a little bag with all the bits in they would need to take with me. It wasn't a very big wound so do know if that makes a difference Confused


clayre · 09/05/2011 19:07

Not only did my dp have to get his own dressings the nurse showed me how to pack and dress his wound so he wouldnt have use up an appointment at the dr surgery or so the nurse didnt have to come out at the weekend!


bittersweetvictory · 09/05/2011 19:12

YANBU, its only going to get worse once Cameron gets his grubby little paws on the NHS, im scottish and my surgery has plenty dressings of all shapes and sizes and if they happen to run out then we get them free from the chemist on prescription, i suggest you move to scotland and vote SNP Grin


catsareevil · 09/05/2011 19:15

I have had to buy dressings too. There are so many different types I suppose it is unlikely that they would have everything in stock.
Prepayment certificates are a good idea. Or move to Scotland.


choirmum · 09/05/2011 19:16

This doesn't make sense to me. If he'd been an in-patient and discharged on medication, he'd have been given a 7 day supply to bring home without paying prescription charges. I suspect this is just the secondary and primary care trusts budget-shuffling!


Punkatheart · 09/05/2011 19:16

Yes Inch I have also had a lymph node biopsy and it is a small wound - so you could be right. Size does matter when it comes to getting dressings. But clean ones are so important....I would hate to think of people skimping on those...

Cameron's grubby face (and shiny face that I would dearly like to sandpaper) is indeed going to mean some changes. Sigh.


Northernlurker · 09/05/2011 19:19

Dressings are expensive and bulky - as are gloves. Most GP practices lack the space to store these things as well as the finances. This is how the NHS is now with charges for items on prescription.


Choufleur · 09/05/2011 19:20

Exactly the same happened to DH last year after breaking his legs, having it pinned, getting and infection, having some pins removed and the finally having a skin graft. In the middle of that he became allergic to the adhesive on the dressings so had to have new ones.

If it's going to go on for very long as your GP to write prescriptions for a lot of dressing.

If you have a district nurse come to your home they usually supply dressings as they are employed by the PCT. GPs essentially are self employed.


Choufleur · 09/05/2011 19:21

You can get a pre payment cert and claim the money back for the scripts already paid for, for a certain period anyway.


Sirzy · 09/05/2011 19:22

I would imagine it will be sterile gloves and thats why they have them on script not just the ones that the nurses carry with them


Northernlurker · 09/05/2011 19:36

Sterile gloves are expensive (ordered some today at work!) and dressings are also sterile and come often in quite big packs. That means they have a limited shelf life and if you're stocking them you need to know you'll use up the stock in the time it has.


lilyliz · 09/05/2011 19:36

when late DH came home from hosp after extensive surgery the DN gave me a script for dressings and sterile solution,cost a fortune in charges,hardly any needed using and then said I should give then to her as she could use them and they were of no use to me,I refused and you should have seen her face.It was so obvious we had been used just to supply her.


chocolatehobnobs · 09/05/2011 19:42

I'm a surgeon. We normally send patients home with enough dressings for at least a few days


dickiedavisthunderthighs · 09/05/2011 20:35

OP I don't know where you live but if you happen to be in the East London area I've got a box full of dressing packs left over from when I had to do the same (bought a prepay card) after a recent hospital visit. PM me if it's do-able :)


Sidge · 09/05/2011 20:45

I'm a practice nurse.

We don't hold stock dressings apart from gauze, saline and non-sterile gloves.

We're don't hold stock dressings because most are prescribable items and as such have to be used primarily for the person they are prescribed for. We can't prescribe dressings for Mrs Smith to hold in surgery and then use them for Mr Jones - this is fraudulent.

Also dressings are frighteningly expensive and to hold enough for all potential wound/ulcer/dressing scenarios would have a massive impact on our budget.

We do take part in a Dressing Formulary Scheme whereby we can 'purchase' some standard dressings at a discounted rate but they are very basic and don't include cavity packing, waterproof dressings etc. They are only to be used for first visits and thereafter we have to prescribe what's needed.

I don't see it as any different to needing a prescription for painkillers or antibiotics and you wouldn't grumble at those. GP budgets are entirely separate from hospital budgets and as the drugs budget is finite it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to ask the patient to pay a contribution via prescription charges. You could get for eg 20 dressings on prescription costing 2.50 each and only pay 7.35 or whatever it is now.


dixiechick1975 · 09/05/2011 20:49

To do with different budgets I think.

I had a trachaestomy. Supplies to clean it had to be begged from ward, distrct nurse couldn't provide. DH ended up tracking down supplier and buying a job lot. Reusing swabs to clean out the tube wasn't hygenic.

District nurses was honest with me saying it was down to budget and the specialist supplies were expensive.

But DH had an abcess drained under GA in Dec and all supplies were provided including at the various treatment rooms he attended for dressing.


SauvignonBlanche · 09/05/2011 20:51

I always send pts home with a couple of dressings, I'll warn them to look after them!

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