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More repeat-prescription mayhem.  G has had a bit of kit routinely updated, and the new machine needs different consumables.  Our GP’s surgery, like all its peers, is under the cost-cutting cosh, and has been leery, lately, about the quantities of expensive consumables that G requires on a monthly basis.  As it happens, I had ordered an extra quantity of these particular consumables in August, to see us through the holidays, and we had rather a lot still left the following month.  So when, in September, I wrote the request for the repeat prescription to be altered, I added that in the interests of reducing waste, I would carry on using the old kit until all its consumables were finished, but in the meantime, could they please add New Consumables to, and remove Old Consumables from, the repeat prescription list.

Unfortunately, someone at the surgery seems to have taken this as a cue to spring-clean G’s repeat-prescription list of other things too.  G is prescribed Emergency Medicine, which is there to be used if other things fail.  It’s not something G can afford to be without, but it is, thankfully, not something that needs to be used very often.  So we need Emergency Medicine to be on the repeat prescription permanently, but unless G has an unlucky spell, we only have to replenish it when the stock goes out-of-date. The diligent doctor who altered the consumables prescription seems to have removed anything that hadn’t been ordered in the previous three-to-six months from the repeat.

So I wrote another letter, explaining why Emergency Medicine needed to go back on the repeat, even if it is only ordered once every eighteen months or so, and handed it in along with the October requests.  And, with dispiriting inevitability, when I went to collect the prescriptions, the Emergency Medicine was there, but nothing else.

The pharmacy is in the ground floor of a big block that also houses the surgery, several other practices, and various community services, so I headed out to the stairs and went up to the GPs’ floor.  The receptionist was adamant that the prescriptions had been issued, so I went back down again… nope.  Back up to the GP’s once more, where further enquiries revealed that prescriptions had indeed been issued – but not since mid-September.  The receptionist promised to get the October requirements organised as soon as possible, and I trekked back down to the pharmacy, where I buttonholed Sharon, the lovely pharmacy assistant who has been an invaluable ally in previous battles, and asked if she could give me a call when the prescription came through.

Sharon gave me The Look.  “Stuffed up G’s prescription again, have they?” she said.


“C’mon, you need to come and speak to my mate Brónach.  Brón!”  She led me over to another counter.  “Brón! Can you take this lady’s details please and call her when G’s prescription comes in?  They upstairs have made a pig’s ear of the repeats and she’s been up and down like a bride’s nightie…”

Brónach looked horrified.  “Shazza!  You can’t say that in front of a customer!”

Sharon flapped a hand dismissively.  “I can in front of this lady.  Known her for years.  Not the shockable kind, are you, duck?”

I smiled and shook my head.  I didn’t mention that the version of the saying with which I was familiar was even cruder.  Echoing down a decades-long tunnel, from the schoolroom centre to my mind’s ear, I could hear the broad Scots accent of salty-tongued ‘trainee’ Maggie , commenting derisively: “… up an’ doon like a hoor’s drooers”.