How to handle NHS inefficiency

111 comes up trumps

Call 111 when it's less urgent than 999

for patient who ran out of prescription drug at weekend.

Problem – I did everything right but couldn’t get Prescription up-dated

Solution – get 111 on the case  – and it worked!

  • Phoned makers Astra Zeneca.  As it was Christmas everyone was on holiday – except for someone senior in Marketing.  He told me that they wouldn’t be making any more of this drug until April, but another drug was recommended as a replacement.
  • Phoned Surgery.  “Doctor can’t see you until January”.
  • Phoned Consultant – he was away, but brilliant Nurse on duty at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital listened, and said if I came to see her in the hospital – NOW – she would sort this out.  When I arrived, she had asked a Duty Doctor to sign a replacement prescription, then handed this in to hospital Pharmacy so I didn’t have to queue;  tablets were waiting for me.drugs

Follow Up

Wrote to GP, attached prescription and alert from MHRA, and asked him to add new drug to my list for repeat prescriptions.  Followed this with phone call when surgery re-opened.

January – my Pharmacist hadn’t received new drug on list;  old one was still being prescribed.  So he lent me stock.  Called Surgery again.

February – same story.

March – Locum was on duty in Pharmacy, who said she couldn’t authorise ‘lending’ me drugs.  This happened at weekend, so only thing to do was phone 111.

111 came up trumps

Explained problem.  Was phoned back by Doctor on duty, who said she would fax through temporary prescription to Pharmacy.

Half an hour later, 111 phoned back.  Wanted address of Surgery SO THEY COULD INVOICE THEM!


On Monday, I was phoned

  1. By Pracrice Manager  (unavailable before)
  2. Doctor – who confirmed they would inform Pharmacy (they did!)
  3. Receptionist – who confirmed she has sent through new instructions, left her name and tel. no in case I had any problems.

But what a waste of MY TIME and NHS MONEY.

P.S. Tried to find out how much this ‘error’ cost cash-strapped NHS.  At 9.40 next morning only an Intern was on duty in Dept. Health Press Office (yet they want GPs to work all hours|). She passed me through to NHS England, who were quick to say  “nothing to do with us”, and I needed to talk to 111 Press Officer.  Wasn’t in.  Called NHS England back – they said they would call me – am still waiting!

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