Life can seem very complicated on occasions and this query reinforced that feeling…
A member had dispensed a hospital eye service (HES) prescription to a small child. The child had taken to spectacles very well, although the parents were less enthusiastic. The form was submitted to the hospital accounts department in the normal way and payment was received in due course.
Some months later, the mother returned to the practice requesting ‘the prescription’ for her child. Apparently, there was another child in the school, in a different year, wearing Spiderman specs and she wanted to get her son a pair.
The member was in a bit of state; how could she give the prescription when there wasn’t one? The HES forms were all in one, prescription and voucher for payment, and long since sent back to the hospital. What should she do?
I suppose the easy answer was to recommend to the mother that she go back to the eye clinic to request another prescription; we all know that wasn’t going to work (try getting a repeat prescription for a replacement, never mind a branded frame).
You may, as a qualified, registered DO, issue a copy prescription. In this case, it would have to be taken from the dispensing records (or from neutralising the spectacles) since there is no clinical record and, of course, great care must be taken that the information is 100 per cent accurate. The member had some concerns as to where this ‘prescription’ would be dispensed. The mother seemed unconcerned by the need for accuracy or fitting problems, only wishing to get the named frame that her child so wanted. Our member was concerned that she shouldn’t encourage such actions by issuing a copy prescription. What should she do?
It is not our job to police the sale and supply of spectacles; as long as our own actions are legal and professional we have no other responsibilities. We have a duty of care to our patients so we must, politely and kindly; explain the complexities of the law to patients, and the parents of patients. If they choose to ignore those facts, that is their responsibility and the legal responsibilities then fall to the new supplier.
Explaining this to our member wasn’t much comfort I’m sure; sometimes it really is quite hard to help patients