Misinformation doesn’t help a migraine sufferer in his hours of need

It was bound to happen at some point. Usually I make sure that I have two sets of my medication for however long that I am away from home in my back bag just in case. One set in hand luggage and the other in the hold luggage. This didn’t happen this weekend. Somehow, I managed to leave it all behind. This means that I have missed two doses of my daily meds, but hopefully it won’t be too damaging to my health.

However, yesterday afternoon I had an awful migraine. Little more than a year since I first knowingly had a migraine attack which had me stuck in a dark room in the Emergency Department and later in a side room in the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, I suffered what became the second worst migraine in that year. This developed mainly due to not having any Sumatriptan with me.

Off we set to Boots the Chemist to see if I could buy some over the counter. Sadly, due to the frequency of attacks this was not possible, so we were directed to the local walk in clinic. The address was written down on a slip of paper and off Peter and I set. Fortunately, Peter knew the way (it’s always helpful to have local knowledge).

We arrived at Putnoe Medical Centre, registered, and then sat down to wait in the brightly lit waiting room. I am sure that you can see why that would make me feel worse.

After about an hour, one of the duty doctors called me in. By this stage I could hardly walk, and he offered no assistance. However, I got in, explained what was going on – and he just wrote out the prescription. All well and good you say. A great success for the NHS in England. Well not really!

The prescription was written at about 1657 by my watch, 1640 by the computer in the consulting room and all the local pharmacies close at 1700 on a Sunday. We asked at the reception if they knew of anywhere that may be open. Eventually we were informed that

the Sainsbury’s store in Kempston did cover the out of hours pharmacy for an hour after the main store closed on a Sunday.

So it was back into Peter’s car, and drive off to Kempston. (A slight aside, I wish that I had been visiting Kempston in better light: it would be good to see where a great uncle had been Vicar.)

We arrived, located the pharmacy window and got told that

It’s closed mate, we close at 5pm. The Clapham store will be able to help until 6pm

And so the hunt for a dispensing pharmacy continued. Sadly, this too was misinformation. The Clapham store closed also at 5pm. So, my head got worse as I got more and more stressed about not being able to get the pills. I’ll be writing to the Primary Care Trust to complain, and also to Sainsbury’s in Kempston. As we made our way back to Bedford, I remembered that Primary Care Trusts are set to be abolished and local councils to take on the commissioning.

That’ll put Pills and Potions in the care of Dave the Mayor. I hope he does better with that than Bedford’s Civic Theatre. Indeed, I have heard that even the Youth Service looks like it is about to be cut. If this is how Dave Hodgson works, I dread to think what he may do to the NHS in the area.

Of course, none of this would help my migraine, but lying down in a lovely hot, foamy bath, in a darkened room, by candlelight did assist me when we got back to Peter’s flat. This morning, my head is not as bad as it was, but there are still the remnants of a migraine about. But I don’t think it is worth me paying the £7.40 prescription dispensing charge as I am about to head back to Northern Ireland where prescriptions are free – that’s one benefit of devolution!

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