"Repeat prescription problems"

About: Lerwick Health Centre

(as a relative),

I feel the repeat prescription service from Lerwick Health Centre is a shambles.

Myself and two of my children need repeat prescriptions. For as long as I can remember in the 2 years that we have been with Lerwick Health Centre I can't remember a time when I have successfully phoned for a repeat prescription and it has been delivered to the correct pharmacy on time.

This week I phoned on Monday morning to order a prescription for my son and for it to be delivered to Boots. I phoned Boots on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon and there was no prescription.

On phoning the Health Centre, it turns out the prescription was there, and hadn't been sent to Boots although that was written on the prescription. I felt the person I spoke to on the phone couldn't have seemed less caring, or less helpful, if they had tried. They said it was just an error and that 'mistake's happen'.

Well mistakes happen quite a lot in there. Sort it out please NHS! This is just one example of hassle and mistakes I have had with Lerwick Health Centre and repeat prescriptions.

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Response from Carolyn Hand, Corporate Services Manager/Complaints Officer, Chief Executive's Department, NHS Shetland

I am sorry you have experienced difficulties. The prescription line is open 24/7, so on a Monday morning the staff are taking down calls from Friday and the weekend. Any prescription that was phoned in on a Monday morning would be processed at the earliest on a Tuesday morning. The Practice then has 48 hours in which to check that what is being requested is appropriate, have the prescription signed and then put to the Chemist. In this case, the earliest that would have happened is Thursday.

The receptionist you spoke to remembers the call, as you were not happy and they apologised for the prescription not being down at Boots. My understanding is that they told you that mistakes happen and they would sort it out for you, which they did.

Boots run a repeat medication service which is very popular and removes the need for patients to phone in their medication requests to the practice. You may find this of use and I would recommend you speak to Boots for further information.

Lisa Sutherland, Service Manager for Primary Care

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Update posted by Mam (a relative)

Thank you for your reply. The scenario you describe is very different to the experience I had. The problem with the prescription was a hassle but had I been dealt with in a caring manner, and an apology - then I wouldn't have been complaining.

A caring attitude goes a long way. Some of your staff are wonderful and couldn't be more helpful - dealing with problems with cheerfulness, smile and a caring, considerate manner - full marks to them!

Also, if you only deal with Monday morning repeat prescription requests on a Tuesday morning then perhaps your recorded message could say so - 'if you are phoning on a Monday morning, your prescription will not be ready for collection until Thursday'. Simple really - just keep people informed and they won't be unhappy with the service. While I was in the chemist waiting for my prescription on the Thursday near teatime, there was a lady in looking for her husband’s prescription - and I overheard her saying 'but I phoned it in first thing on Monday morning'. So this is a problem for other people, not just me.