Pharmacy Blunders

Photo of a pharmacy sign. A pigeon is sitting on the sign.

This morning, a friend of mine had posted a story he’d picked up from the BBC. Some pharmacy (in the UK) had issued a chap with the wrong meds, the chap subsequently died. A similar thing happened to me once. It was only because I check all my meds as they arrive that I spotted the mistake beforehand. A lot of people don’t, so the guy’s death was not surprising – we just expect everyone to get it right.

In my case. the error was with my local pharmacy. The system in the UK, there are two boxes to fill out. One person picks the meds out of the store, initials one box. A second (different) person then checks the choice, initials the second box. Two-stage verification – a lot of the banking systems I designed had the same setup. One person creates, another checks.

Somebody picked the wrong drugs, then initialled the box. Somebody else then checked those wrong drugs, and ticked the second box. It’s this second step where I had the issue.

When I spoke to the pharmacy, their excuse was that they were very sorry, but the staff worked so hard and were always in a hurry. I asked them which was more important – to do things quickly or to do things right?

The pharmacy asked if I would return the incorrect medication. I refused. As far as I was concerned, those tablets were now evidence, in case they later denied their mistake.

I decided to complain to the NHS – there was every chance that they could make the same mistake again, and that the next person will not notice. The NHS swept the complaint under the carpet. If I’d have wanted things to change, I should have gone to a lawyer, hit them in their pocket instead. But my interest was that they get things right, not that I make money from it.

The Complaints procedure just left me feeling that the NHS just looks after its own. It hardly instills confidence. Their refusal to improve the system just means that I took unilateral action, and never used them again. Anybody else… shrug.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

5 thoughts on “Pharmacy Blunders”

    1. No I’ve haD a few experiences with the NHS which have left me underwhelmed. The most recent was just this summer, when the local hospital refused to disclose their COVI|D numbers to me. It’s a pity that a majority of conscientious workers are tarnished by a few, but that’s the nature of the beast – they all bat for the same team.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Pharmacy screwups are quite rare here but the story reminded me of what could happen if I hadn’t thought to check.
      We also have a situation where a pharmacy will source its meds from wherever, and different manufacturers will produce different sizes/shapes/colours. So you often can’t tell visually.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I always check my meds when I get home. I’ve never had a problem, but I don’t want to take something that will cause more harm than good because a harried pharmacist screwed up.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: