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Pharmacist wasn't a sight for sore eyes for this patient

If the genuine conversation I overheard in a pharmacy yesterday is an indicator of the future of healthcare, it literally is going to be a case of the blind leading the blind.

If the genuine conversation I overheard in a pharmacy yesterday is an indicator of the future of healthcare, it literally is going to be a case of the blind leading the blind.



The following is a conversation I overheard while waiting in line in the pharmacy yesterday.

Customer: I'm a contact lens wearer and I have sore eyes.

Pharmacist: I can't give you any drops. But you can use ibuprofen tablets (takes pack from shelf).

Customer: They'll help ease the pain, will they?

Pharmacist: Yes. You could also do with something to boost your immune system. I'd suggest Echinacea (walks off to get some from elsewhere in shop, then pauses on her return).

Pharmacist: Come to think of it, you might as well take advantage of our ‘3 for 2 offer'.

Customer: Yes, anything that will help.

Pharmacist: OK, I'd suggest these Vitamin C tablets.

The pharmacist was incredibly polite and obliging. The patient was incredibly grateful. And I, next one in the queue, was just incredulous.

Here we have an undiagnosed ocular problem being treated with one painkiller and two placebos.

No doubt this type of thing goes on all the time, and has done for years. It just felt closer to home because a) I was stood there listening to it b) The movers and shakers see extended role pharmacists as the future of cutting edge primary care.

The pharmacist sounded as though he genuinely wanted to help. Which might have been the case, and is my preferred interpretation - given that the alternative is that he was a salesman who was either too cynical or cavalier to give some sensible advice. Because I'm not making any of this up.

There was no mention of seeing an optician or a GP. In fact the only piece of the dialogue I'm not sure is 100% accurate is the ‘sore eyes'. It might just have been ‘sore eye' – I'm trying to persuade myself this wasn't the case because if it was then maybe I should have stepped in, given the likelihood of serious pathology.

I think it was sore eyes. I hope it was sore eyes. But one thing I am sure about. If this is the future of healthcare, it'll be the blind leading the blind.

Copperfield blog

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