Stress in the workplace.

My attention was brought to this article in C&D, a UK magazine for pharmacists. It was about pharmacists and stress. I love the piece

One respondent told us that he considered it a good week if he hadn’t called the police, and added he “hadn’t had a machete attack outside the store in a while”.

Sounds like some of the places I used to work in.

Controlled drug scripts

Word has been coming to me that the PSI inspectors are going to town on pharmacists over controlled drug prescriptions that do not meet their exacting requirements. I suppose for them it’s an easy target and helps to justify their existence. But is it fair?

Many docs have by-passed the part of their computer system that will not print CD scripts. They know that they should be hand written but still insist on computer generated with just a signature on the bottom. If we are to follow the law exactly then patients will be seriously discommoded. We must not dispense these scripts until the docs have written therm properly. In some cases this can take days, waiting for the prescribing doc to become available or an alternative to re-write the script completely. Is it fair to make patients wait? For the most part these scripts are for powerful painkillers and waiting is not appropriate. So we as pharmacists have an ethical dilemma. Do we make the patients wait while the doc gets their act together or do we risk a bollocking from the PSI inspector?

And what of the docs? At this stage most of them know the legal requirements for CD scripts and yet many still ignore them. Maybe it is time for some of them to be reported to the Medical Council for failing to put the patients need first.

An email which was circulated recently put it very well.

Can I just ask if the IPU give feedback to the IMO ( or whatever docs body is appropriate [Edit; I would inform the Medical Council] ) on matters like this?
They are the prescribers, they get it wrong, they put pressure on us to chase these scripts up, surely the larger part of the responsibility lies with them to get it right to start with and their representative body to remind them of how serious this is.
Are we to refuse every CD script that is not written right?

As part of a bigger question, are docs reminded of the difference between S1a and S1b etc and the necessity to specify the number of repeats they would like the patient to have.
I am actually seeing more and more scripts written as ” repeat for 1 year “.

It seems particularly unfair that our Society is getting more stringent on these matters if the originators are not been spoken too in tandem.
By the way I am in complete agreement that all of these safeguards should be crystal clear and enforced as a matter of good practice but it cannot be one sided on our behalf, constantly having to “remind ” docs of the law.

I think that local co-operation is the best way to go. Maybe local surgeries should invite their local pharmacists in to guide them on how scripts should be written. I wonder if the docs even get any instruction on how to write a proper script when they are in training. It’s in everybody’s interest, the patient, docs, pharmacists, the PSI and the Medical Council for them to get this right first time every time.