Dearest darling GP

By | 27 August, 2010
In general, GPs never look like this

In general, GPs never look like this

Dearest darling GP,

I moved my healthcare to your business a couple of years ago because my previous GP was failing to deliver. He was medically mediocre and administratively hopeless. I like your surgery because you take in a lot of trainee GPs. Terrifying as this may first sound, they’re actually rather good – they’re young and enthusiastic, they haven’t heard it all before so they actually listen to what I say and when they don’t know something they run off and check with a grown up, rather than just making stuff up. I find all that quite endearing in a doctor.

Overall, you’ve been doing very well. Medically you’re performing. You developed a worrying interest in delivering my diabetes care but I managed to steer you away from that and we’ve agreed that you won’t meddle in things that you don’t really understand. We’re getting along just fine.

Administratively you’re above average in my experience, although my benchmark for good GP admin is pretty low. If I ask for a repeat prescription you normally manage to issue one within 48 hours. And most of the time it’s more or less correct. You also get extra brownie points for not accidentally giving my medical records to a little old lady to read whilst she was in the waiting room as one of your predecessors did.

It’s not all good though. We’ve been having a little issue for a while now. You understand that I need blood testing strips and you’re happy for me to have as many as I need. You’re not misinterpreting any silly PCT guidelines about rationing strips like some of your less bright colleagues. More brownie points there. Sadly, while your intentions are good, your delivery is a little random in this area. If I request blood test strips sometimes I get them, sometimes I don’t.

We’ve talked about this and you explain that the nasty PCT won’t let you put blood test strips on my repeat list in case I order too many, start selling them on the black market and the NHS isn’t left with enough money to buy biscuits with. I explain I’m happy for people to put sensible measures in place to manage budgets, but we still need a process that works. At the moment if I order blood test strips I sometimes get them and I sometimes don’t.

You say that I should ask my pharmacist to check my prescription when he collects it for me. I say it isn’t his job to double check your work. You say I should highlight when I’ve requested blood test strips. I say the list I sent in only had 5 things on it and blood test strips were in bold size 14 font and you still managed to miss it. Short of sending a singing telegram I don’t see what else I can do.

For the love of god this shouldn’t so difficult. Please put a process in place that means I get blood test strips when I ask for them. I’ve spent a couple of years training you to deliver my healthcare and you’ve been doing it well, I don’t want to have to start all over again with someone new.

Lots of love


Category: check ups Tags: , ,

About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

6 thoughts on “Dearest darling GP

  1. Annette A

    Wow, sounds like a bit of a problem there! I’m lucky (I think!) in that I have what is so quaintly referred to as a ‘rural’ practice (I’m not sure of the exact boxes a GP has to tick to be classed as such, but one would assume being a certain number of miles from civilization) which means we have a pharmacy as part of the practice (rather than the setups whereby a healthcare centre has a pharmacy on the premises, when it is 2 different businesses – it’s a legal thing to do with monopoly or something?). What it basically means is that I tell the pharmacy what I want, they write the script, and the Dr signs it. So I get what I ask for. (Unless they can’t locate strips, but that’s another story…)

  2. Hairy Gnome

    I’m in much the same situation as @Annette, a predominantly rural practice with a pharmacy next door. Originally, when I got my repeat prescription there was a copy included with the order, and for my next request all I had to do was tick the boxes against the items I wanted, and post the script back. That worked really well, but me being me I got fed up of using all that paper, and with having to visit the medical centre to return the form.

    Nowadays I use EMIS Access, a system that allows me to access my repeat prescription on line, as well as allowing me to make appointments unless it’s with my DSN, that’s more difficult as appointment lengths vary depending on the amount of tests. I may just be lucky, or, more likely, I attend one of the best GP practices in the country. Any problems I’ve had with repeat prescriptions have generally been of my own making, and the doctors and pharmacy have always gone the extra mile to counter my stupidity. I’ve never had my test strips rationed, I can see my DSN whenever I care to make an appointment and controlling my diabetes is really a team effort. NHS Rules OK! 😉

  3. Alison Post author

    The issue is that they use the standard process of a repeat list where you tick what you want, but won’t put the test strips on that list so I have to ask for them each time. Most of the time that works, some of the time it doesn’t. It sounds like I need to move out to the countryside and find a rural GP to solve this 😉

    1. Mike

      What a nightmare! Can you not flex your considerable powers of persuasion to get strips added to your repeat list? Any time I have to request anything in writing for a script it takes at least 3 goes to get it right. So pleased mine are on my regular lick list. Tick boxes are way more surgery-admin proof 🙂

  4. tim swinburn

    Think you might not be alone Alison, sounds like a common problem. I think I may be lucky that being in the RAF and having a very keen GP stuff doesn’t seem to hard to come by. My Doc’s brother-in-law is T1 so I should be in understanding hands. Saying all that, my latest repeat for test strips has been in for nearly 10 days and nothing has turned up yet, no fault of the pharmacy it’s the supply system from Abbot that has failed this time, Oh well. Fortunately I know how bad the RAF supply system is so I make sure I’ve got a ton of spares just in case.

    Don’t forget that as you pay into the NHS via National Insurance you are simply claiming against this policy to get your kit…. GP’s hate it when you tell ’em that!

  5. Cecile

    Unfortunately, there’s no high tech printed out prescriptions with tick boxes here in my nick of the woods; and with all of the many drs I’ve had with handwriting resembling blind octopus doodles, I rarely attempt to proofread them before dashing away – on 2 different occasions ending up with 1000mg/day ferrous sulphate, 1000mg/day vit. C and no vit. B12 (instead of 170mg/day, 100mg/day and 1000µg/month). So if you want to make bullets or eradicate scurvy, I’m your girl 🙂


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