A PUBLIC VIEWPOINT
Why would a pharmacist refuse to sell me, a pensioner, a common medical product I have used throughout my life to treat an occasional condition to good effect? I ask because that is what happened to me this week at my local chemists.
The condition was an eye infection - a stye - and the product I sought to buy was Gold Eye Ointment, which I have always found to be easily available. My experience began when, with red, inflamed eye, I was asked by the counter assistant why I wanted the product. I then stood there - feeling somewhat vilified - while the assistant held a lengthy discussion with the pharmacist, to be told he would hold a consultation with me. If I had wanted a consultation I would have seen a GP.
The pharmacist then became involved in a consultation with a mother and child, on the shop floor and I decided to leave. He spoke to me as I was leaving and I asked if he would allow me to buy the product - he said no. I purchased the product a short while later from a chemist in the same group a few miles away. The assistant merely asked two questions relating to contact lenses and diabetes.
Having read the many articles on this site and elsewhere relating to big developments with pharmacists regarding consultations and fast-track training to become GPs - and the great enthusiasm and, in some cases zeal, created - I understand the drive to offer a better public service. But where are the checks and balances?
In my case, and I suspect many others, I was denied the simple opportunity to treat a condition I knew with a product I've known and used since childhood without ill effect. How is this improving anything?