Gransnet forums


Wasting NHS resources ?

(15 Posts)
janeainsworth Mon 24-Nov-14 11:09:38

I've just had a phone call from someone called 'Abbie'.
She said she was working in partnership with my GP surgery.
Did anyone in the household have a repeat prescription?
Rather reluctantly, I said yes.
They were 'offering a free NHS service' to deliver prescriptions to our house, rather than us getting them from the chemist.
No thanks, I said.
She re-iterated that the service was free and it would save me going to the chemist.
No thanks, I said.
She then said we could take advantage of it during the winter months, and revert to collecting our own prescriptions at a later date if we wanted to.
No thanks, I said, goodbye.

I'm really quite cross.

I don't know who this organisation is, but I wish the practice hadn't given them my details (if indeed they did, the organisation could have just looked in the phone book).

Is it the NHS inappropriately wanting to mollycoddle all the over 65's, regardless of whether or not they are perfectly fir and well?

Or is it <conspiracy theory alert> some multinational chemist chain wanting to siphon off business from the small independent chemist that we use?

Who, incidentally, widely advertises the fact that she is happy to deliver to people's houses if they so wish?

I've done 1471 and called the number back it was a Sunderland number - an answering machine said they are 'the Pharmacy Initiative Scheme'.
Does anyone know anything about it?

I'm just about to email this post to the practice mnanager at our GP practice.

petallus Mon 24-Nov-14 12:43:33

The service could be valuable to some elderly, house-bound people I suppose.

Perhaps they are ringing those of a certain age to see if who would benefit from it.

Reminds me of an initiative which came from our local council a couple of years ago, offering free burglar proofing to our houses if we were over a certain age. Well, it was free so we went for it. We never use the extra lock thing on our two outside doors though so I suppose it was a waste of money in our case.

Mishap Mon 24-Nov-14 12:48:07

This is a scam: Call the police.

janeainsworth Mon 24-Nov-14 13:42:13

Sorry this thread has appeared twice.
I haven't suddenly turned into a megalomaniac.
I posted it, and gibberish appeared. I posted it again before realising the whole site was down.

Petallus I realise that the service could be valuable to some people - my old aunt was virtually housebound in a rural area for some years and she really appreciated it.
But the point is that pharmacies and practices advertise this service themselves - I was suspicious that a third party was muscling in and diverting business away from small independent pharmacies, which I like to support.

I also think it's morally and ethically dubious to cold-call people, give the impression you are part if the NHS(which the person did, when she's not) and ask them questions like 'Does anyone in the household have a repeat prescription'.

FlicketyB Mon 24-Nov-14 15:04:31

As Mishap said. If it is a cold call it is a scam. Boots and Lloyds pharmacies all offer free renewal and delivery services, but you approach them they do not cold call you.

There must be somewhere we could put up big posters saying. IF IT IS A COLD CALL (FOR ANYTHING) IT IS PROBABLY A SCAM. Time and time again worried Gransnetters and their friends and relatives get bothered about being polite or whatever to cold callers and wondering whether the service they are being offered might be useful. If they called you, you didn't call them, just put the phone down on them.

janeainsworth Mon 24-Nov-14 15:25:10

I agree FlicketyB.
I'm inured to people wanting to replace my boiler, sell me solar panels, trying to convince me that I had payment protection insurance, or that someone in the family has had an accident, or that my computer has broken, and they all get short shrift.
And I'm fully signed up to the mantra, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

The woman said she was 'working with your GP practice' for the NHS.
It sounded very convincing and I had to be quite assertive in standing my ground, that I didn't want to sign up.

Although this marketing company's business is legitimate, allegedly there has been some suggestion of legal action against anyone criticising them. It isn't really a scam, so much as questionable marketing practices, and you don't really expect that from someone purporting to be working on behalf of the NHS.

harrigran Mon 24-Nov-14 16:46:35

This appears to be a scam. Could be an easy way of people getting their hands on drugs. I think the clue might be in "your Doctor's surgery" rather than "Doctor A******'s surgery". All they need is the electoral register which tells them who are over a certain age and probably make them repeat prescription holders.

durhamjen Mon 24-Nov-14 17:18:48

Gateshead and South Tyneside CCG have taken it seriously enough to alert their solicitor, the police and NHS Fraud.

I had a leaflet through the post from a company offering the same. I do not know if it was the same company. They must have wasted a lot of money in this village, as our chemist does it anyway. I do not think the chemist would have approved.

annodomini Mon 24-Nov-14 17:38:27

I also had a leaflet in the post about a similar service. It is now in the recycling bin.

POGS Mon 24-Nov-14 17:59:01

Posted on the other thread.

Thought I'd lost the plot for an instance. smile

janeainsworth Mon 24-Nov-14 18:07:09

Replied to you POGS smile

FlicketyB Mon 24-Nov-14 19:19:03

janeainsworth We are signed up with the Telephone Preference Service and if the cold call seems to be coming from a UK number we simple say: "We are signed up with the Telephone Preference Service we are recording this call as it is an illegal call and you can be prosecuted for making it' They ring off in nanoseconds.

rosesarered Mon 24-Nov-14 19:30:30

Jane what did your GP surgery say about it all?

rosesarered Mon 24-Nov-14 19:32:52

A private company [even one that gives the misleading impression it's working with your GP] and a scam are two different things.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Nov-14 07:51:03

FlicketyB We are supposed to be registered with the TPS too, so I'll try that strategy next time.

Roses the practice manager reassured me that the practice hadn't passed on my details. He emailed me copies of correspondence to practices from the North-east Commissioning Support Group, showing the level of concern about the activities of this company and asking for complaints from patients to be fed back to them via a questionnaire.

I've just emailed the NECS with details of the conversation I had.

I think the most pertinent questions were

Did the caller state they were a marketing company working on behalf of registered pharmacies? -No
Did the caller state they were operating on behalf of the NHS? - Not quite, they said they were 'in partnership'
Did the caller claim to be calling on behalf of any particular GP or GP practice? - No but implied it by saying they were working with 'your GP practice'.

Apparently this company is not doing anything illegal, but the morality of this behaviour within a healthcare setting is dubious indeed.
I was going to compare them with double-glazing salesmen, but that would be an insult to the double-glazing companies, most of whom probably have more ethics in their big toe than the Pharmacy Initiative.