A few weeks ago, I watched with interest as the Channel 4 programme Dispatches aired a show entitled ‘How safe are your medicines?’ The documentary revealed how between 2011 and 2014 criminal gangs linked to the Italian Mafia had stolen prescription medication and sold them to wholesalers in the UK amongst others.

These were legitimate medications rather than fakes, but I hope I’m out of the woods for a handling stolen goods charge just in case. I have mentioned before that ‘us’ pharmacists are rather strait-laced, so this is pretty ‘sexy’ for us and if I’m ever needed in a pharmacy-related remake of the Godfather then I’m in.

Of late, it has been so difficult to obtain some standard medications that I wonder if having this additional option would be helpful. When I see some of the prices we are charged for standard medications, I half wonder if it is the Cosa Nostra that I’m dealing with, rather than a pharmaceutical company in Lancashire.

Recently, a new EU directive (I know!) came into effect, where we can scan all prescription medication in to and out of the pharmacy so that there’s an audit trail of its journey, from manufacturer to patient. I think the idea is that either the Mafia won’t have these scanners, or medication being scanned into a Villa in Sicily would set off alarm bells.


As I often mention in one-way or another, I’m a pretty seasoned ‘vaccinator’ nowadays. Whether it be the old favourite flu, or the more exotic Japanese Encephalitis, I’ve got you covered and haven’t made anyone cry yet. Disclaimer: All children who cried, were crying before the needle went anywhere near their arm.

I regularly must refresh my travel knowledge and undertake distance learning to make sure I am competent in the advice I give and all other theory-related issues. Every couple of years, I attend practical training, to make sure that I haven’t forgotten which end of the needle to use and whether I still know where to stick it, so to speak.

This usually involves a trip down the country somewhere and has resulted in me driving to St. Albans and back on a Sunday in the past, which you can imagine, resulted in a very engaged student. This year, the training providers have decided to bring the training to Carlisle for some reason, so I’m over the moon and might remain awake for most of it*.


Many of you will use our text notification service, where we let you know that your prescription is ready, your vaccination appointment is due, or that we’ve got a fridge full of flu vaccines that need to be used up.

As with any technology, it has its glitches. Our system sent a message from our computers to a router, which in turn sent a message to a mobile phone, using Wi-Fi. This mobile then sent a text message to the patient using a mobile signal. So, we’re in a building that’s hundreds of years old and situated in a rural location, so what could go wrong?

We have now moved to a system where the system sends a message directly from the computer in the form of a text message, which we hope will further improve a well- received service.

So, if you don’t receive a message now, it’s very likely that it’s down to human error.

Nat Mitchell

*Please note that I always stay awake and have certificates to confirm this!


If you are placing an order with the surgery using their telephone line, then please note, that it is very important that you select the correct number if you want your prescription to come to us.

*CUSTOMER NOTICE* Select option FOUR - then leave a message saying what you need

We have vaccinated patients travelling all over the world ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A FRIENDLY,


We also supply antimalarials without the need for a prescription

Do you need to be vaccinated for your job? Do you want your children vaccinated?

Are you ineligible for a vaccine on the NHS? Get in touch and our trained pharmacist will be happy to advise you

FREE Prescription Collection and Delivery Available

Unsure if your prescription is ready? We can send you a text message to let you know when it’s ready

For further information on our services please visit our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter

31 Main Street, Cockermouth CA13 9LE Monday to Friday: 8.30am - 6.00pm and Saturday: 8.30am - 4.00pm | 01900 822 292 ISSUE 433 | 18 JULY 2019 | 13

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