"Collecting prescriptions from my surgery"

About: Hertfordshire and the South Midlands

(as the patient),

Firstly let me stress how great our local GP surgery is - Lower Stondon Surgery. Always polite always kind and helpful.

But for some reason I am no longer allowed to pick up my prescription from the surgery (the window I pass outside the doctors room)

I find this very very annoying as I now have to travel down the road to a new pharmacy that doesn't always have stock of the items I need. So I then have to travel to another town by car.

Why has this changed? why am I no longer allowed to choose?

Using foot paths it's closer to walk to my surgery, if I then have to go to the pharmacy on station road this adds another 20 minutes to the walk. I dont understand how anyone can find this acceptable and how it has been allowed to dictate how and where I can collect my prescription.

After all I'm usually unwell when I visit the doctors so I would really rather collect my prescription how I choose the most convenient to me.

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Response from Peter Howard, Head of PALS, Complaints and FOI , Communications and Engagement Directorate, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG)

Dear leighbee98,

Thank you for your comments about the changes to dispensing practice at your surgery and I am sorry that you are unhappy with the new arrangements. I do sympathise with the frustration you are experiencing with this change.

You asked why this change has been made and why are you no longer allowed to choose where to have your medicines dispensed; this is due to the opening of the Henlow Pharmacy and the application of national prescribing rules.

The 'dispensing doctor contract' allows a practice such as yours to dispense only to patients that live more than one mile, (1.5km) away from a Pharmacy. Because the Pharmacy in Lower Stondon (The Henlow Pharmacy) has now opened, I am afraid that the surgery are no longer legally allowed to dispense to patients who live within one mile of that pharmacy, hence the change for you.

As you appear to be aware already, you may choose to have your prescriptions dispensed by any Pharmacy, not just the one in Lower Stondon, or you might decide to avail yourself of the Henlow Pharmacy's delivery service. However, I am afraid that this is a legal requirement and not one that I am able to assist you to circumvent.

If you have any other queries or wish to discuss the matter further, please feel free to contact me.

Peter A Howard F Inst L Ex

Head of PALS, Complaints and FOI

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Suite One, Capability House

Wrest Park



MK45 4HR

Telephone: 01525 864430 X 5946

Mobile: 07813 068821

Safe haven fax: 01525 864425

Secure email: peterhoward1@nhs.net

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Update posted by leighbee98 (the patient)

Thank you Mr Howard for your detailed response and explanation.

You say I can choose to go to any pharmacy, it seems bizarre that I can't choose to use the one at the doctors.

I would like to have the choice to do what I want to do and I used to like the service and convenience of the doctors pharmacy counter. Similar, to how I choose Waitrose over Tesco regardless who is closer.

I suppose I'm shocked to find that this is law, A law that restricts patients and the local doctors surgery. Is this anti-competitive practice?

Many people have mentioned they are not happy with this.

How could I complain further?

Updates, changes and questions related to this story