Difficulty getting medication

I care for my dad who is 86 (don`t live with him) He is on 4 different medications and every month there is a difficulty getting them and I have to go in/ring up/email the chemist. He gets very distressed about the delays. and wants to try another chemist but not sure if there is a supply chain problem and this would be a waste of time. He takes apixaban, bisoprolol, .finasteride and glaucoma eye drops.
Thank you for any advice.

Hi Felicity, it does sound like a chain problem with the chemist supplier. Ring a few chemist’s and see if they can help and if they can let the GP know, if you are still struggling to get them ring the GPS and tell them. It does happens suppliers can’t keep up with the demand or certain brands are stopped and they don’t tell the GPS. Best of luck.

Hi Felicity,

I have the same issue getting hold of S’s meds - you might find an independent pharmacy is more likely to be able to get hold of his meds as they often aren’t tied to a single supplier. However, there is a supply issue with lots of meds and it is a total nightmare.

ITV news did a documentary about the problem

this won’t solve the problem but sometimes knowing it’s not just you struggling with an issue can help.

We’ve had similar issues for Dave’s medications - one in particular - which has meant phoning all the local pharmacies as his own pharmacy (which posts his meds to him) can’t get hold of that one for some reason. So far he’s had to use three different pharmacies.

Thanks everyone for your help. Anything that keeps my dad calm is good!

1 Like

They were covering this on TV with Dr. Hillary today, quite a long article.

I understand the frustration and anxiety, it can sometimes be difficult getting Parkinsons meds. But we eventually registered with our tiny local pharmacy and they are simply brilliant. They sometimes ring to say they haven’t got something in stock but will try and source some and then they’re calling a couple of hours later to say it’s come in! I’d definitely recommend scoping our your local independent pharmacy, I think they offer a much more personalised service and ours is definitely more invested in building their place in our community - they know all their customers by first names :slight_smile:

By a stroke of luck, I’ve found that I am a week in hand with Hubby’s meds. There was a change of medication in the middle of one four-week period, which resulted in a complete prescription being issued and dispensed. It’s given us a buffer zone in the event of any supply issues, which helps with Hubby’s anxiety.

1 Like

Thank you x My dad is very angry about the problem. I am feeling low at the moment and doing my best to care for him. He has hearing loss but wont have a hearing test done. I arranged for him to see the bowel community nurse with his consent and then he got upset and blamed me. I have a sister but she lives further away and doesnt want him to go into a home as she wants the money from the house after he has died. I have symptoms of inflammatory arthritis-I am 57- and generally feel unwell.
Thanks everyone. I always offload my problems about my dad onto my husband and it is affecting our marriage._

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone in this community. There is no judgement here .
Sorry for the previous rant.

@Felicity we all rant on here from time to time. I wouldn’t worry

Thank you Charles. I have had so much good advice .

1 Like

Felicity, you are amongst others who really understand. In 45 years I’ve supported 10 family members in various ways. Now I’m a bit disabled myself, supporting my brain damaged son. Sometimes it helps to make a list of everything you are struggling with and then shuffle it in order of priority. Share the 3 things that annoy you most, with us. Someone might have an idea to help, but I know how stubborn my mum was! Counselling helped me.

Thank you BB. I have had counselling as I have very difficult relationships with my dad and my sister. I need to maker an appt with my doc to see a rheumatologist. I realise I need to look after my own health. I just get so overwhelmed with other peoples problems I cant think straight.
Thank you for this forum. I have said things on here I haven`t said to anybody apart from my husband.

If a chemist cannot supply the medication, it should offer you the prescription back, so that you can try elsewhere.

Also, try to build in some lead time. For my own medication, I work a month in hand. I have the current medication I am taking, and a month’s supply in reseve. Once I have used up the current supply, I start on the reserve supply and now it is time to order the next month’s supply. This gives me plenty of time to sort something out if there should be a supply problem.


I agree Dennis. Graham would always leave ordering til the last minute but since I took over setting up his meds each week I order 10 days or so in advance. At the beginning of December I mentioned to a Receptionist that the next 'script was due 28th Dec and she said 'I’ll order it now and you collect next week. I then ordered mid Jan and that meant he is 2 clear weeks in hand - wonderful breathing space.

1 Like

I try to keep at least one pf all my husband’s medication ‘in hand’ ironically made easier because he goes through stages of refusing to take specific medications. I have to say the chemist is very good, and we work together to try and get his medication’in sync’ with the GP Surgery who will sometimes dispense a partial prescription of 14 days worth.

With regard to my thyroid pills, I try to keep at least 2 weeks in advance as have to drop off at GP Surgery then collect from chemist and both ask us to allow 5 working days for each although in fairness, both tend to deal with it earlier.

Problems can arise when there are more than one item on the repeat - once the pharmacy has issued part of a repeat, the prescription can’t the be taken elsewhere until the unavailable medication is ‘returned to the spine’. Some pharmacies will do this for you, others except you to go in person to the surgery to get a token to take elsewhere.

I agree with keeping a supply in and this used to work well until we hit such extraordinary times. Now my supplies have been used up and the GP meds software will only let you order from the date of issue (not the date you last ordered) meaning once you have used up your buffer stock you can’t restock it. The system is mess.

Thanks for your detailed reply, Melly. I have met this problem too. Our local chemist cannot return a prescription that has been part-issued, and can only refer us back to the surgery with all the additional delays that that entails. A chemist in the town centre - one of the “Big Three” - is more helpful and can issue the outstanding part of a prescription. My caree now has the surgery send the prescription requests to there.

NHS software is brilliant in some respects, e.g. COVID reporting, outpatient appointment notification. It is not so good at things like repeat prescriptions or doctors’ appointments. We have considered using the local practice web site to order prescriptions. It should in theory save the time of a trip to the surgery. However stories like yours put us off. If we simply submit a repeat prescription slip to the surgery it is usually dealt with promptly. The staff, it seems, are far too busy to check up when the last prescription was actually issued - as long as we don’t request unreasonably early compared with the previous request there is not a problem. (Likewise, try to arrange an appointment with a doctor online and we’ll be lucky to get one within a month, with no choice of doctor. Phone up, have something to do while we “hold” to progress up the queue, and we can get an appointment sooner. We may even be able to choose a doctor.)

Hi Denis,
We used to order by ticking the boxes of the repeat and posting it through the surgery door. Meds were usually available however human error frequently occurred. The person processing the repeats often did page one and no more. I tried stapling the pages together but it made no difference. Or they would only order one strength of epilepsy meds, not the three strengths required as he takes different doses am & pm.

During Covid they stopped accepting this method of ordering and you had to ring up. This wasn’t perfect either and often not all meds required were processed.

A lot of pharmacies around us have closed and those remaining open have reduced their opening.

I’ve had most luck with the independent ones as they aren’t tied to a single supplier.

This all shows me how fortunate we are that our surgery has its own dispensary. The only time there is a problem is when their suppliers have an issue. We tend to order online, BUT if we add a note about something it does not always get read! Recently, G’s request in the notes field was overlooked and it meant I had a second trip to collect something. It was the senior receptionist who dealt with me on 2nd visit and she commented there was only one item. When I (very politely) said it had been missed, she said ‘ah - I will ensure the person dealing knows she MUST check the notes on screen in future!’

They have increased the lead time for prescriptions to three working days due to slower delivery times, but other than the aboe I cannot praise them enough.

There are lots of reports about shortages of medication around the country which is worrying.