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"Poor communication regarding a query"

About: General practices in Tayside Tayside Community Services / Community Mental Health

(as a parent/guardian),

Poor communication regarding a query re obtaining Clozapine meds during Covid pandemic.

As  the next of kin of a schizophrenic adult son on clozapine  I needed a plan of action should my son need to isolate and not be able to collect his medication from the Pharmacy  in Perth. I asked if meds could be uplifted by myself or a support worker or if they could be delivered  

The pharmacist I spoke to was adamant that my son had to physically present before meds were issued  saying “  don’t worry Mum we are over the worst  of the Covid scare “ I found this patronizing, and trivilializing the dangerous devastation of  disruption of Clozapine treatment ,  ( 48 hours without clozapine requires re titration in a mental health institution) the ramifications of this are enormous .

When I intimated my concerns to his mental health team (Cairnwell) and asked if there was a protocol in place for such an issue, I was advised it was a pharmacy issue.

I accessed NHS inform, Public health Protection,  who acknowledged the implications but could not help ,. I eventually  gained  some  answers from my sons GP practice Pharmacist

Eg  from them contacting the pharmacy They ascertained that should my son require to isolate He should telephone the Pharmacy and  arrangements would be made for a person to collector delivery to be arranged.

This whole scenario has caused undue distress to my son and myself 

I strongly feel NHS Tayside could learn lessons from  a proactive approach as evidenced by other Health Authorities .in providing  best practice guidelines including written patient information  to vulnerable adults and their carers  during these highly anxious times An Internet search of Clozapine / Covid  highlights the importance of such an approach 

I speak as an advocate for my son and as a retired health professional. 



Response from Chris Lamont, NHS Tayside 3 weeks ago
We are preparing to make a change
Chris Lamont
NHS Tayside
Submitted on 31/03/2021 at 10:22
Published on Care Opinion at 13:16

Good Morning,

Firstly I would like to apologise for the experience that both you and your son have had.

I have spoken with the Team based at Cairnwell and they have advised me that the service does provide the ability for an identified relative or formal carer to receive the individuals medication in exceptional circumstances, such as shielding throughout the pandemic. However as you have highlighted this does not appear to have happened on this occasion.

We will work with our pharmacy colleagues to clarify the situation and prevent any miscommunication from happening again.

Once again please accept our apologies.

Kind regards

Chris Lamont

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Response from Sarah Lowry, Business Unit Service Manager, Corporate and Board, NHS Tayside 2 weeks ago
We are preparing to make a change
Sarah Lowry
Business Unit Service Manager, Corporate and Board,
NHS Tayside
Submitted on 07/04/2021 at 14:10
Published on Care Opinion at 14:41

Dear Tayside carer,

I'm sorry for your experience and the manner in which you were spoken to.

The pharmacy services responsible for the supply of clozapine in primary care are aware of and adhere to the strict controls that are in place for this medication.

Should a patient or their representative be unable to attend the pharmacy to collect their medication then alternative arrangements would be made to avoid a gap in treatment.

Your suggestion regarding the need for written policies and patient information will be considered as it is recognised that health services can and do continue to learn from their experiences and patient feedback as the pandemic progresses.

Alistair Brand

Lead Locality Pharmacist, Perth & Kinross Health & Social Care Partnership

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