"Pharmacist tried to change my medication"

About: Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw

(as the patient),

I had a letter from my practice from a person calling themselves the practice pharmacist. This person without reference to me changed a medicine in the name of being cost effective. This despite a senior consultant at my local hospital who changed me from this because of the damaging effects.

How can pharmacists be allowed to override a doctors instructions in the name of cost and not of health? This practice must be resisted. I have refused the change.

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Response from Kay Allwood, Patient Experience Co-ordinator, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear land,

I am sorry to hear that you have experienced difficuties regarding your medication. If you wish to make a formal complaint about this, I would recommend you contact the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) as this is not an issue that can be addressed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Kind regards,

Kay Allwood

Patient Experience Coordinator.

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Response from NHS Sheffield CCG (Lead commissioner)

Thank you for your feedback and for letting us know about your concerns.

Clinical practice pharmacists are employed by NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group to help GP practices prescribe medicines that are safe, clinically effective and affordable to the NHS. These pharmacists have expert knowledge in the actions and uses of medicines and work closely with practices to try and ensure that patients get the maximum benefit from the medicines prescribed to them. Part of this involves reviewing current medication choices and considering whether better options exist. If the clinical practice pharmacist thinks that there is a better option, they will recommend that the GP practice changes the prescription. The change will only be made if the GP agrees.

We know that it is important that we explain to patients why changes are made and with the help of patient groups we have developed a letter that GP practices can use to explain to patients why changes are made. I am sorry that you were left feeling that a doctor’s instructions had been overridden. After reading your feedback we are going to look again at how we can best communicate with patients about medication changes.

Without knowing more about your specific circumstances we can’t comment on why a change was recommended in your case but you might it helpful to discuss this with the pharmacist at your practice.

I hope this information is helpful but please feel free to phone me on 0114 3051094 or email me at sheccg.complaints@nhs.net if you would like to discuss this further.

Sarah Neil, Patient Experience Lead

Update posted by Iand (the patient)

Thank you for your reply. I expect my GP to prescribe medicines that are safe, clinically effective and affordable to the NHS. I note of course the emphasis on the affordable.

I assume my GP to be expert in the actions and use of Medicines. Only they can work out the interactions between different medicines for different conditions. I would be appalled if this was dome on an exclusive cost basis which I see is the purpose of Practice pharmacists. If the Sheffield Commissioning group thinks it better to spend its money on Ancillary workers and not GPs this will only increase the mess there is in GP surgeries. I know that the Doctors Union and the Pharmacy union have come to a cosy agreement but we need doctors not Pharmacists in a practice.

In my own case the practice pharmacist changed a medication back to one that a hospital consultant had said was giving me stomach problem. I have not made a formal complaint but your reply suggests I ought. In any case after the election I shall press my MP on this matter. We do not want Pharmacists prescribing in a practice. We want GPs.

Thank you for replying.