A patient came in today and said: “Isn’t it annoying – after all this fine weather, the rain has come.” I thought: “No. For those of us working in pharmacy that’s probably the least annoying thing that happens.” The following is what’s annoying...
- Staplers. All of them. There is a devil inside that makes them jam with unerring regularity and has me flight test them across the dispensary.
- The phone rings with an automated call from the main wholesaler informing me that “owing to logistical problems your delivery times may be disrupted”. What does that mean – will it arrive or not? Do I phone the patients who had been promised drugs this afternoon to say they’ll have to take their script to another pharmacy, only for the delivery of non-returnable stock to arrive half an hour later, or wait and break the news if there’s no delivery when they come in?
- The phone rings again, and it’s yet another patient asking if their prescription has arrived. I curse the electronic prescription system, and long for the days when a piece of paper in their hand meant patients knew where their script was. “My surgery said they were emailing it over today. No? Not yet? I’ll call again this afternoon. Then three times tomorrow…”
- The phone ringing full stop.
- Hearing the message: “We are experiencing a high volume of calls, please wait” – no matter what time you call an organisation.
- People who lean over the edge of the dispensary in an overly friendly, chummy way. Let me come round to your house and leer at you through your windows, and see how you like it.
- GP surgery receptionists who adamantly tell patients their script has been sent electronically, but are looking at “EPS R1” on their screen, which means it’s just bar-coded paper.
- People who say, “have you got a prescription for me?” and then wait 10 minutes while we turn the place upside down before saying: “I’m not expecting anything, I just wanted to check.”
- Random scripts that arrive for monitored dosage system patients, without anything to say if this new drug or different strength is to add or replace an existing dose. Hang on, while I get the pharmacy crystal ball...
- Anyone with a child.
- People who say: “Got something for this?” while pointing to a perfectly healthy looking face/eye/set of genitals.
- Anyone who comes into the pharmacy five minutes before closing time for a repeat prescription of 12 items and says they’ll wait.
- Requests for a particular brand of drug as if it’s an order for a glass of fine wine: “Oh, you can’t beat the 2014 Teva bendroflumethiazide.”
- People who, when asked “do you pay for your prescriptions?”, reply either “yes, unfortunately” or “no – I’m a student”.
- Anyone with a sore throat who looks as if their world is coming to an end and just wants sympathy, a hug, and antibiotics. The poor darling.
So, to be honest, the rain isn’t a bad thing. At least it keeps many of the above at home, and gives me some much-needed peace!
A long-running C+D contributor, the identity of Xrayser remains a mystery, but his irreverent views are known by all. Tweet him @Xrayser