Monday, 6 February 2012

Loadsa Money...I Mean Test Strips!

I test my blood sugars quite frequently, I always have done, but even more so now I am pregnant.

I've read the reports and heard the stories about GPs who refuse to prescribe a large amount of test strips and I used to not only think how ridiculous that was but also how thankful I was that my GP had never restricted how many (or the type of) test strips I could have. I went to see my GP when I was about 8 weeks pregnant and I asked whether he could up my prescription of test strips (Abbott Optium Freestyle, 50 strips per box) from 5 boxes to 6 or 7 boxes whilst I was pregnant. He asked me why I needed more and I told him that I was currently testing about 15 times a day, to which he was quite shocked even though I explained that this was what I had been told I might need to do by my DSN in order to maintain good control. This meant that a box was only lasting me about 4 days rather than a week. He was completely puzzled 'What do you do with the results?' he queried. 'Well I act on the result depending on what it is and I write down the results so I can see any patterns' I said. He didn't get it. He said he couldn't increase my prescription as I was already getting a substantial amount and there were people who simply didn't use their medicines, left them at the back of the cupboard and then they went out of date (I would think it was my lucky day if I found a box of test strips at the back of my cupboard!) He said I would just have to order them more often. I left feeling quite frustrated, I understood the cost issue for the NHS but what I couldn't quite fathom was his lack of understanding that I was merely trying to keep my blood sugar under control to try and protect my unborn baby - isn't that what every other doctor was telling me I needed to do??

The next time I went to collect another prescription of strips a few weeks later there was a note attached saying they hadn't prescribed the test strips as I had recently had an order. I was so angry and luckily the receptionist got me a prescription, after all I only had a few left, what was I supposed to do? Now whenever I order any I write in big bold letters that I am pregnant and therefore use more test strips at the moment, it's worked so far and hopefully will continue to do so.

Rant over, I cannot get anywhere near as annoyed with the lovely pharmacy staff who are completely the opposite when it comes to being flexible with prescriptions and my diabetes needs. This was what me led to post about test strips this week. I was worried I might run out of test strips this weekend (seeing as though I can't keep a spare box at home and need to wait till I have nearly used them all before I can ask for any more!) So I went into my local Boots on Friday evening and asked could they sub me a box till I brought my prescription in this week, it wasn't a problem, easy as that. It is this understanding and flexibility that goes a long way, it's hard enough and time consuming enough managing diabetes at times so every little helps. Thank you Boots, if only my GP was as understanding. Grrr.....

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