The problem with dispensing GPs For a long while I have jocularly berated my fiancée over the fact she gets her medication from her dispensing GP surgery thus betraying my profession. Granted, for her, it is the convenience factor and I would do the same in her position were I not a Pharmacy student. The GP surgery is across the road from her home, the rural location would otherwise mean a drive into town to the Pharmacy, and she doesn’t drive. However, this week this came to a head. After much deliberation, she was put on a PRN antipsychotic by her consultant, arguably a high risk medication, and the prescription request was dutifully sent through to the GP surgery. This was where the problems started. You see, although the surgery is across the road, they insist on seeing her at their other surgery which is a drive away in the next village. This was where the request was sent and issued, so she had the initial hassle of having said prescription sent back to the surgery across the road to collect. As you will see, this is the least of our worries.
So, she duly went across the road, collected her medication, but on her return home was rather alarmed to find no patient information leaflet in the box. The prescription was of course for less than a full box, so the dispenser had not bothered with the leaflet. I know for a fact that the dispenser knew it was new medication because she personally dealt with the issuing and transfer of the prescription from start to finish, so through either ignorance or laziness she knowingly broke the law and compromised patient safety. Now my fiancée is pretty astute (the cynics may insert a joke here about an astute person needing antipsychotics!), knows from me that this is not ok, and was able to look it up in the BNF or download the leaflet from eMC, but this really does not excuse the fact that the surgery issued the new medication with no advice or information whatsoever.
So our conundrum is what to do about this now?
Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about what else the surgery is dispensing willy nilly without counselling. My fiancée has never had antipsychotics before and it was all but left to us to do our own research into whether this medication was a good idea or not. The surgery have no idea I am a Pharmacy student, the dispenser probably has no idea as to my fiancée’s mental capacity, so I fear for what might have happened if someone else had been given this medication, or any other high risk medication. This really illustrates for me the major issues with dispensing surgeries, and why the Pharmacist is so vital in the dispensing process. What else goes under the radar in GPs dispensaries?