Breathtaking incompetence … but I’m glad … no, really …

February 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 6 Comments
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I’m Pollyanna right? I can do this glad-game thing! OK, I’m glad I’ve had to go to the surgery and the chemist three times this week because it’s given me an opportunity to enjoy more of the beautiful spring weather (in between the showers). I’m glad the doctor completely screwed up my last prescription in three different ways, because otherwise I wouldn’t have had that lovely experience I’m so glad about. I’m glad that I had to go in to the surgery reception tonight and point out that even after a conversation with the doctor yesterday, he had not sorted out the correct repeat date for my folic acid, because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had that amusing conversation with the receptionist about kicking her cat.

Hmm … doesn’t sound too convincing, does it, really? Well I am at least trying – but it’s very trying, especially as I’m still at the tail end of a flare.

Here’s what happened – in brief – I hope, although I do have a tendency to waffle on, as you may have noticed.

I put in my repeat prescription as normal, picked it up Monday, got it home and realised that my folic acid was missing. As my folic acid was the only thing I’d run out of (I just ordered all the RA drugs at once to save another visit to the chemist) I was a bit peeved. I contacted the surgery reception and had a conversation something like this:

Polly:     I’ve collected by repeat scrip but it doesn’t include my folic acid.

Receptionist:     Ah … let me look it up. Oh I see, that’s because you’re not due any until March.

Polly:     Yes I am, I’ve run out.

Receptionist: Oh no, you can’t have. You see it was issued last month, and you take it three times, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Polly: Yes

Receptionist: So that’s three times a week

Polly:     Yes

Receptionist: And they issue you twelve, so …

Polly: Yeeeeeeees …

Receptionist: <lightbulb going on> Oh! That is actually a month’s worth, isn’t it?

Polly:     YES!!!!!!!!!!

Receptionst:      Oh … in that case it looks like the doctor’s made a mistake.

Well, to cut a long story short(ish) that wasn’t the only mistake he’d made, so although I was able to have my folic acid rushed through and pick it up in time for me to take it on Wednesday, I then realised there were two other things (non RA-related) also missing from my prescription! I checked the repeat prescription paperwork and it quite clearly said that those things were due now … and that the next batch of folic acid was due in … April.


So I phoned again and asked for a doctor to call me back to discuss this, which he duly did! I had a very pleasant conversation with him, while being driven to my mum’s house by a colleague in order to turn off mum’s faulty burglar alarm … but that’s a whole nuther story … and, after an entire repeat of the conversation with the receptionist – ‘You take it three times a week … we issue twelve … OH!’ etc. he assured me he’d change it on the system and also put through a prescription for the other two things.

Tonight I went to pick them up, feeling happy, relaxed and full of the joys of spring. I went into the chemist and sure enough they did have my other two items ready. Hurrah. Then, foolishly perhaps, I checked the paperwork. Instead of saying ‘Folic Acid – due 26 March 2014’ in nice, neat print, it said ‘Folic Acid’ and then 26 March 2014 scribbled in in biro over the printed ’26 April 2014’! All very well except that a) I could do that myself, and indeed when I next put in a repeat request the doctor (probably not the same one) would assume I HAD done it myself and just not issue me any, just like the last two months and b) what happens when I want some more in May or June or whenever and the issue date is for two months down the line again?

So I went in and, having honestly been really nice and polite to the receptionist the first time (and not mentioning breathtaking incompetence at all), and really nice and polite to the doctor (in spite of mum’s alarm going off in our ears in the middle of the conversation), this time I blew my top, flipped my lid and generally had a big squawk! The receptionist was lovely – didn’t apologise exactly, they never do I’ve noticed, and neither do the docs, probably terrified if they say sorry I’ll sue them for something, but was very helpful. She put in a note for the doctor saying it did need to be changed, please, and suggested I call tomorrow to find out if it’s actually been done. (She obviously has as much faith in the system as I do!) When I said that I was sick to death of going in there and had had to come in three times in the last three days she said, ‘You should try working here. I love my cat, but honest to God I go home each night and want to kick it!’ Don’t tell Enormous Cat, but this evening I knew how she felt!



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  1. Oh my goodness. As if we didn’t have enough to contend with RA, you get to deal with these issues as well. I had a similar experience with my insurance company. I tried three times to pay my premium (once by check and twice by direct bank draft) and nothing worked. Twice I spent four hours on the phone only to have a supervisor tell me it hadn’t worked! Hopefully all your scripts are now aligned and will continue to be so going forward. Sending hugs across the pond.

  2. Arrrghhh, Penguin! What a royal pain-in-the-behind! You held your temper for an admirably long time, though, and in the end, I think you were well justified in raising some … well … you know.

    How’s that flare, now? Are you feeling better? Staying warm? I’m celebrating the rain out here in Endless Summer California, but I’ve heard GB has had more than its share–and that’s saying something.

    Hoping all is well. Enjoy the weekend! 😀

  3. Aughh! Even from here in bonkers old Nigeria, that is breathtaking incompetence. Bit worrying that doctors can’t seem to count doses….

  4. Thank you Wren, I’m feeling better than I was, certainly! 🙂 We’ve got quite nice weather now, but I hope it lasts a few more days at least – I want a dry weekend.

    Carla – how FRUSTRATING – if you kept your temper, I’m well impressed. 🙂

    And Mrs Mooseface, I hope all’s going well out there – or perhaps you’re back now? But anyway, QUITE re doctors and doses!!!!!

  5. Are people determined to make me feel much much much happier about living here? If I run out of anything the chemist will give me a pack. I have to pay the full price at the time – but when I bring a script I get it back. If there is a problem like that – the chemist will phone the GP and explain if it’s REALLY necessary. And although I can’t have more than 2 months worth at a time – all I have to do is ring her up and the scripts will be in her postbox after the end of surgery that day to drive past and pick up. And there are no appointments for daily surgery so you will always be seen same day – but if you work you can make an appointment with her to suit. AND she does house calls. 🙂

  6. Oooh Eileen, you’re making me jealous! 🙂 I have to say though, I went in to pick up my latest scrip armed with a photocopy of the request I put in, and I went through the bag in the car and checked everything off against it and it was ALL THERE! Hurrah. (However, I should be able to ASSUME it’s all there really!)

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