"I can't use my GPs pharmacy service because I live 'too close' - what?!"

About: Barnsley PCT

(as the patient),

I went to my local GPs surgery for a routine smear and for tests to establish whether I have asthma. I had not seen this GP before, but she was really polite, professional and knowledgable so all went well.

I had been slightly anxious about the smear ahead of going as it was my first, but it was absolutely fine, took probably 40seconds in total and while a bit uncomfortable, I certainly wouldn't describe it as painful.

In terms of the asthma, I described my symptoms to the GP and she talked to me about the circumstances when the symptoms are most severe etc. She asked me to do a peak flow test which showed that it was just below normal for someone of my age and a non-smoker. She suspected that I had exercise-induced asthma so asked that I take a peak flow meter home and keep a 2 week diary administering the test myself twice a day, once when relaxed and once after a run.

I left the GPs office and took my prescription for the peak flow meter to the pharmacy service within the surgery. I was told, by a very polite and apologetic pharmacist, that due to dispensing laws they were unable to give me the meter as I lived within a mile of the surgery. What?! They advised that I use another local pharmacy, which isn't a huge pain but both were closed at the time.

I have since tried to find out online why my GP pharmacist can't dispense medication to me simply because I live close by - I can't find an answer that in any way changes my opinion that this is a bit ridiculous. The policy makes absolutely no sense to me, and I can't see how it can possibly make good financial sense either.

Really happy with the GP and the pharmacist, who seemed embarrassed about the situation, but can't understand the dispensing laws that make everything more complicated than they need to be.

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