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Given that we are in the midst of the winter cold and flu season, many medical bodies have been encouraging members of the public to consider, when ill, where the most appropriate place for them to be seen is.
Much of the advice recommends self-care for minor complaints and pharmacies for advice and help with managing severe colds and flu along with similar conditions.
It is therefore of great concern that I read this BBC article following a recent investigation into Boots pharmacies that they too are becoming increasingly busy, face staffing and space problems and could be putting people’s lives at risk with dispensing errors.
A dispensing error occurs where a pharmacy mistakenly processes a patient’s prescription (from a doctor) and either provides the wrong medication entirely or provides the wrong dose. These errors can prove fatal as outlined by the BBC’s investigation but those cases are very rare.
However, it is worrying that those errors happen as they can result in patients becoming increasingly ill and having to seek medical input either from their GP or local hospital, putting increased strain on the very services pharmacies are meant to be trying to reducing strain on.
I hope this investigation will encourage internal investigations and identification of where improvements can be made. I also hope that everyone suffering from the seasonal illness going around again this winter take a practical and sensible approach and seek help and support from the appropriate services.
If you are not sure which organisation may be best for you when ill, see my handy guide compiled from various NHS resources as to where to go this winter.
Hannah Bottomley is a clinical negligence solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Hannah or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Hannah directly.