People with type 1 diabetes will, in likelihood, have suffered great frustration when collecting prescriptions at some point in their lives.

When you are running low on medication and awaiting the delivery of an order you made a few days ago, the last thing you want your pharmacy to say is: “We don’t have it”.

How do prescriptions work?

Prescriptions are administered by your general practitioner (GP), after which your choice of pharmacy will then order in your medicine.

Repeat prescriptions, meanwhile, can be ordered online, over the phone or over the counter with your pharmacy. They sign off the prescription with your GP and subsequently alert you when it has been ordered and received – which normally takes two-three business days.

So what do you do when you cannot access your prescription? We take a look at two situations that can result in your angst.

1. Miscommunication

The Big Noise

When running low on medication, a phone call to your pharmacy sets the wheels in motion for your repeat prescription to be ordered.

However, miscommunication between your GP and your pharmacy can leave you considerably stuck.

Should your GP tick off your prescription and report they have handed it back to your pharmacist, this can become quite a pickle if your pharmacy deny all knowledge of this.

Within days, the calls will begin from your pharmacy saying they have received nothing from the GP and cannot therefore fill your order.

In this situation, your prescription may need to be reprinted by the GP, in which case an evaluation will be conducted by your doctor, while you sit and wait for the whole thing to be resolved.


Unfortunately, in situations like this, it is most likely human error that has caused your situation and rarely will either side be admitting that it was their fault.

Fortunately, pharmacies will not let you suffer without essential medication and more often than not emergency supplies can be provided until your prescription is sorted.

2. Prescription restrictions


The cost of diabetes is a continued challenge for the National Health Service (NHS), which makes management of your medication imperative.

Many will have been through phases when blood testing strips are ploughed through, either due to a new job, holiday or troublesome phase of blood sugar readings.

Having recently ordered some test strips, which typically range between 100-200 per prescription depending on GPs, it is easy to occasionally find yourself running low within a couple of weeks.

However, some pharmacies will have extremely tight guidelines in regard to how long a period is required before the ordering of the same product can occur.

This means you could therefore be faced with scrupulously managing your final few test strips while waiting for sufficient time to pass before you can collect a new prescription.


The first time this happens to anyone with diabetes can be a big wake-up call in regard to diabetes management.

Some pharmacies may allow you to purchase a box of test strips, which usually retail at £25 and recoup the money back when your next prescription comes in.

Otherwise, some may also give you a box and subsequently take that off your next order.

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