PHARMACY bosses have urged Barrhead residents to do their bit to ease pressure on hard-working staff.

The plea comes after the Barrhead News told how Fraser’s Pharmacy, in Main Street, was forced to introduce a waiting list for patients who wanted or had been advised to get their medication in multi-compartment pill organisers, commonly known as ‘Dosette boxes.’

Concerns were raised by members of Barrhead Community Council, with the group’s latest meeting hearing from two experts who confirmed the issue was a serious problem.

Now residents are being urged to consider whether they really need their prescriptions to be prepared in pill organisers.

Award-winning community pharmacist Elizabeth Roddick said: “There is absolutely no capacity left for trays, which were originally introduced for very vulnerable patients before their use just got out of hand.

“The problem is that carers insist on them but the situation can’t continue.”

David Greer, of the Greater Glasgow Community Pharmacy Contracts Committee, added: “A decade ago, only a few trays were being made but now a lot more people are being looked after in their homes, which requires a high degree of social care.

“Dosette boxes are supposed to be for people who can self-medicate but carers are insisting on them because of their own time pressures and because they’ve not been trained properly to administer medication.

“What we’ve seen in community pharmacies is a huge spike in demand for pill trays – and because there’s been such a rise, each pharmacy has to assess how many trays they can deal with safely. That’s where the capacity issue comes in.”

Mr Greer pointed out that pharmacists who fill out prescriptions in pill trays are no longer paid for this service, which means that, when demand increases, they are unable to employ more staff.

Community Council chairperson Rosaleen Reilly spoke of her own experience using a Dosette box, after being discharged from hospital with two full bags of unfamiliar medication.

She said: “If, like me, you’re taking 13 tablets in the morning, then a different batch at lunchtime and in the evening, it’s a lot of medication and many people wouldn’t be able to cope. A Dosette box is ideal in that situation.”

Community councillor Rosemarie McInally added: “Our biggest concern has always been that there are people who should get them but can’t because of demand.”

Mr Greer told Ms Reilly: “The issue is that you should have been properly assessed for it and you weren’t. We reckon only about 30 per cent of people currently using Dosette boxes would, if they were properly assessed, be given them.”

Ms Roddick added: “The key to getting this service under control is to ensure people are properly assessed so only those who need it receive it.

“The problem is that a lot of customers now expect a Dosette box and we need to get the message over that this is probably not the best thing.

“The best thing is to have carers who are properly trained in administering medication but it’s a problem that isn’t going to be solved overnight.”