Solutions are being looked at for prostate cancer patients in Tayside who were told they could no longer collect their medication from local pharmacies.
Cancer patients, who previously picked up their prescriptions of abiraterone from local pharmacies, were told last month they’d have to travel to Ninewells Hospital or Perth Royal Infirmary to collect the drug.
The hospital-only collection was introduced after a national NHS contract change.
The changes, including a move to the non-branded version of the drug, were said to offer “an opportunity for significant cost-savings for NHS Tayside”.
One patient in Tayside, a full-time carer, previously told us they would have to take multiple buses for the round-trip to hospital to collect the medication.
They branded the decision ‘really worrying’ for those undergoing treatment.
However, following our story, NHS Tayside has confirmed the pharmacy team is looking at solutions for those who are unable to travel.
‘Continuing to look at various options’
New arrangements for some patients are already in place.
NHS Tayside’s spokesperson says: “Maintaining patient access to medication is a priority for the pharmacy team and they are continuing to look at various options to make this medication more easily available.
“We hope to have a solution in place over the coming weeks which will be communicated to patients.
“A pharmacist within the clinical team works closely with all patients who receive this medication to ensure they have adequate supply to last for a number of weeks.
“Any patient who is having difficulty accessing their medication should contact their clinical team who will support them.”
‘No change in Fife’
NHS Fife director of pharmacy Ben Hannan says: “There is no change in collection arrangements for abiraterone for NHS Fife patients.
“Mechanisms are in place to support patients who are unable to collect from one of the local hospitals and require home delivery.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson adds: “Health boards are responsible for ensuring patients have appropriate access to their medicines.
“Anyone who is faced with challenges in accessing their medicines should discuss with their local clinical team… to make them fully aware of the problems being experienced and so they are also able to provide support.”
Satellite pharmacy opening times:
For patients who are able to collect abiraterone from Ninewells or PRI details are:
- Ninewells satellite pharmacy is located on level 3, just before you get to ward 32. The easiest way to get to the satellite pharmacy is through the entrance at Princess Alexandra at the back of the hospital near A&E.
Open Monday – Friday 9.30am-4.30pm. Closed weekends.
- Perth Royal Infirmary’s satellite pharmacy is in the main building on level 3.
Open Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm. Closed weekends.