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News Story: How to make the most of the online doctor


North London Pharmacist: I've been out dealing with a few work related things recently so haven't been in the pharmacy for a while so felt a little rusty when I was in today. I was there to do the regular walk-in travel clinic and to deal with dispensary checking.

A lady came in a bit red faced as if she had been crying. I took her into a quiet area of the pharmacy and asked her what was wrong. She mentioned that she had come all the way from Putney, South London to come to the GP walk-in so she could get some antibiotics for her urinary tract infection. The receptionist said she would not be able to get an appointment for a couple of days but she was in agony.

After a few questions I found out she had recurrent UTIs and was experiencing an extreme burning sensation. I sold her some potassium citrate and said this would ease the pain but she would have to see her doctor for the antibiotic. She immediately broke down in tears, so I took her into the consultation room.

She mentioned that it was the only time she had off work and could not afford to take any more time off. She had had trimethoprim before and it had worked. I reluctantly mentioned she could go to A&E if she was really desperate but she said that that was ridiculous. The only option I had left was that she could go to the PharmaDoctor online doctor site and try her luck there. She took out her phone, sat down, logged onto the site and in less than fifteen minutes she had completed the online consultation and placed an order. She paid online via credit card and a private prescription was sent to my pharmacy computer. I printed off the prescription and dispensed the medicine.

When I gave her the medicine she cried again, not through frustration with the NHS, not at the fact that she had travelled so far, but tears of relief at the helpfulness and convenience of having a pharmacist that can actually help.

Article published on the 26-07-2013

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