Low hanging fruit

Guelder Rose this autumn

Guelder Rose this autumn

I had a medicines use review today at my local pharmacy.

Now I have a lot of time and respect for the staff there.

They sort out prescription errors from the GPs.

They are open on Saturdays.

They are very nice, smiling, unfailingly helpful, can’t do enough for you, remember your name…

Sound familiar? Well not at the general practice it isn’t.

Anyway, when I picked up my last sack of medicines there was a big red sticker on it…

MUR (kerching £s)

I was asked if I would like a medicines review.

Thought for a while, and remembered that at the last one the pharmacist made a recommendation to take a pill in the morning not the night, so


I turn up today bang on time.

Could you just wait a few minutes?

Ten minutes later I see the pharmacist in the little, tiny, minuscule cell for eyeball consultations.

He brings up my details on the screen high up on the wall, which I can’t see.

has a whiz around with the mouse, takes a deep breath or two, then…(I paraphrase)

Phew, you are on a lot.

I peered round at the screen..after two minutes he reads the clue and turns the screen so I can see it if I move my chair so we can hold hands and rub shoulders.

We didn’t.

The mouse pointer flies furiously around the screen as he fills time and space thinking about his next move.

So I start telling him what each tablet is for, how long I have used it, whether it works…

Ten minutes later..

Wow you are in control aren’t you.

Do you smoke? Do you drink? Your weight? (Get out the calculator to convert stone to kilos, which I do from memory before he opens the app. Then he looks up to see chart on wall. I tell him my BMI before he gets there.)

Well, you are in control, aren’t you.

Umm, yes.

He pushes a piece of paper in front of me to sign (so they get their £28).

Smiles across the twelve inches, muttering something…and fiddles with the piece of paper.

I realise this could take some time if he is embarrassed to ask me to sign that I have had advice about my medication. (He should be.)

I sign, and he turns pretty quickly on his sixpence (sorry, twenty eight pounds) and departs.

So… What was gained there?

He didn’t even ask when I was taking the pills during the day (as previously), or if I was suffering any side effects, including from the Donepezil.

I think today the pharmacist picked the low hanging fruit and chomped it. And the fruit tree thought it had been ripped off.

I think community pharmacists are really important to local communities and to providing advice, guidance, simple medical treatments that don’t require a GP or even a practice nurse. Colds, coughs, bruises, cuts perhaps…that should be their low hanging fruit.

But you’ve got to trust them, and that pharmacist today just lost me. Luckily I know the regular staff and they’re great.

What will I do next year when asked to contribute £28 to their coffers?

2 thoughts on “Low hanging fruit

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