Barrhead residents have hit out over waiting lists at pharmacies that are forcing them to travel miles to pick up prescriptions.

The issue was raised by members of Barrhead Community Council, who noted that people wanting to get their medication in multi-compartment compliance aids (MCAs), or other pill organisers, were being added to a waiting list.

Rosaleen Reilly, chair of the community council, was recently released from hospital after having surgery but was left shocked by the response when she approached Frasers’ Pharmacy, in Barrhead’s Main Street, with a prescription.

She said: “I was told they were not taking on any more people for blister packs and I would have to be placed on a waiting list. Instead, I had to go to another pharmacy in Darnley or Arden to get my prescription.

“I had been with Frasers all my life and then, all of a sudden, they couldn’t help me.”

MCAs are often used by elderly people and those on many different medications.

Ms Reilly said: “If pharmacies can’t handle demand, they need to hire more staff to meet it.

“Luckily, I am familiar with my drugs and medications but, if it had been someone more elderly or more vulnerable, it could be a terrible situation.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it will work with pharmacies in Barrhead to “identify why there might be a waiting list issue and agree with them a plan to manage their capacity whilst continuing to provide a high standard of pharmaceutical care to patients.”

She added: “Each month there are approximately two million NHS prescriptions dispensed by the 291 community pharmacies across Greater Glasgow and Clyde supplying medication in its original packaging.

“Some patients may require additional support when taking their medicine and may be issued with a suitable device, such as a multi-compartment compliance aid, following an assessment based on their clinical need.

“However, not all medication can be included in an MCA as, in some cases, the effectiveness of the medicine can deteriorate once removed from the original packaging.”

One of the issues facing pharmacies in Scotland is that they are not paid for filling out blister packs – a time-consuming process that drains resources and puts increasing pressure on staff but for which there is not always a genuine need.

As more people in Barrhead have switched from other local pharmacies to using Frasers’, the pressure of providing the service to so many, without compensation, has grown increasingly unmanageable.

Colin Fraser, co-owner of Frasers’ Pharmacy, said: “Where a patient has a genuine need for a blister pack – dementia, Alzheimer’s, living alone without support – we will still fill it but we’ve had to introduce a waiting list for some people because we’re at our limit.

“We do strive to offer as good a service as we possibly can for our patients.”