Stock-out and non-delivery of ARVs in Taunton in the UK
I am a patient at Taunton GUM and we have been having problems with the supply of medicines by “Healthcare At Home Pharmacy”. I have heard from lots of my friends who have had the same problem and some have had to miss doses because health care did not send their drugs on time.
We have complained with the hospital and we feel sorry for the nurses as they spend a lot of time on the phone following up on the orders even if they put in the orders two weeks in advance.
The main pharmacy does not hold or stock any HIV drugs.
Can you advise what I should do next time so I get my supply. I am thinking of changing the clinic, but is this common in all clinics?
Thanks for your questions.
The things you report are very worrying. Although homecare delivery services are great when they work well, I have heard of problems in other parts of the country with other companies.
If this has been happening regularly, then it is essential that an emergency access plan is promptly put in place to ensure that no-one needs to break their medication because of delivery problems.
One option that should be easy is to ensure a back up supply of ARVs in the hospital pharmacy. I am shocked that this hasn’t already been put in place.
In London, when similar problems arise, it is easier because hospitals still have people for whom home delivery is not appropriate. Getting an emergency supply is therefore easier. I have heard similar report though where the companies have missed several delivery slots.
Have you written to the hospital and commissioners to formally complain about this problem? If you have a patient forum or local support group they should also be involved. If the problem is ongoing then making this a formal complaint may help.
Although it is too late today (early Friday evening), I will follow this up on Monday and repost additional information when I have it.
I will also try to contact the commissioner responsible for this area of the country and the Taunton clinic for comment. If you are able to tell the clinic that this is now online, it may also speed up their responses to take this more seriously. It may also help if the clinic themselves have are not getting the support they need.
I don’t know whether this is a problem with other clinics that are close to you, but perhaps other people who use these services could post comments or information below.
Another easy solution would be for the hospital to modify the bureaucracy for reordering meds by letting you do this 3-4 weeks in advance. This way you could have a couple of weeks emergency meds at the end of each prescription to cover problems with late delivery.
You could also tell the hospital that you have run out early to get this safety supply.