"Ophthalmology and my 96-year-old Father's Eyedrops"

About: Weston General Hospital

Dad's regular eyedrops became unavailable.

Two pharmacies tried hard to get them ringing several different suppliers.

They were still unavailable after a couple of weeks (although the pharmacies were still hopeful, but only hopeful, of possibly getting them in a week or so).

I rang Weston Ophthalmology to get a message to Dad's consultant.

The secretary told me to try a different pharmacy (and gave the name).

I then spent 40 mins ringing round pharmacies being referred from one to another.

All said the drops were currently unavailable but some were hopeful of possibly getting them in a week or so.

I rang back to Ophthalmology.

The secretary asked how much was left of Dad's current drops.

I said I couldn't really tell as they are drops (it's not like tablets) and you can't see through the bottle, but I said I thought he had a few days left.

The secretary said "We do need to be given some warning".

I was annoyed.

I had done everything right: put the request in to the surgery in good time; given the surgery plenty of time to do the script as they request; given the pharmacy time to put up the drops and then to try various suppliers when it was realised they were unavailable; I had tried a different pharmacy; and now spent time ringing round many more pharmacies.

I told the secretary how inappropriate the remark was and got an apology.

A script for a different type of drops was done.

But when we collected it we realised they contained the same drug (although a different strength & dose) as drops Dad had been put on by the Eye Hospital last year and taken off almost immediately by Weston Hospital, possibly because his eye pressure was increasing.

My sister & I decided to query this - better to be safe than sorry.

I rang Ophthalmology again and for some reason was put on to PALS.

They said someone would call me back.

No one has.

What should have been a straightforward matter of letting the consultant know of difficulty getting prescribed drops has turned into another debacle.

It is not possible to give more than a few days warning in a situation like this.

The secretary's remark was unnecessary and thoughtless.

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Response from Weston General Hospital

Many thanks for your comments, and we are very sorry to hear that you were not happy with the care you and your father received from us. We welcome your feedback and will pass your comments on to the Ophthalmology department and also our Patient Advice and Liaison Service. If you would like to discuss these issues further, can we please ask you to call PALS on 01934 647216?

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