Is it okay for GP to refuse Ventolin ... - Asthma UK communi...

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Is it okay for GP to refuse Ventolin prescription?


Hi all, I've had asthma for most of my life (44 years) and in that time had a few really bad episodes. Well, twice now my GP has refused by Ventolin inhaler prescription for not making an asthma review appointment. Okay, I'm a bit rubbish when it comes to making these appointments and I'm a bit rubbish when it comes to using a preventer. But, the first one I went to, a few years ago, I had a nurse who had clearly been on the asthma training course try and show me how to use my inhaler. I've been using one for about 38 years so I recon I've got it sussed ;-) So that put me off attending them. Anyway, my point is, do you recon I should stick an NHS complaint in that they withheld my Ventolin prescription. Or am I being a bit petty. I had a really bad experience once when my inhaler had run out and I had a severe attack so it worries me when I don't have one. Thanks :-)

14 Replies

I had almost the same problem several years ago. I wrote a letter of complaint and was seen immediately by exactly the same style nurse as you saw. BUT! I was then referred to the county respiratory team and everything was corrected by them. I was given 3 Ventolin inhalers whenever I asked and my medication completely reviewed. I now have NO trouble whatsoever when I want any medication. Definitely complain.

Anniecath in reply to PMRPete

Hi PMR Pete,

I,ve had a similar experience, but didn't get as far as respiratory team. I pointed out that Ventolin inhalers are a life saver, since then not had a problem. Does make me wonder how well informed some so called Asthma nurses are. I've experienced excellent care, and the other end of the scale. Seems to be luck of the draw.


Hi Sainthamish

GPs are trying to respond to the findings of NRAD by recognising that people who go through a lot of blue reliever inhaler are at risk of asthma attack. So they are looking at those who are requesting salbutamol frequently (guidance says 12 a year)

Ideally they are meant to invite people in for a review when they find this to discuss why they need so much and to try to see if they can think about better prevention for them so they are not suffering symptoms. I understand you might not want to get your technique checked having been used to having asthma for so long, but you aren't being singled out, it is part of the routine review.

It's a good idea to have a chat with the surgery, perhaps the practice manager to talk about the risks you face if they don't give your salbutamol and equally our advice if you can see them just so they can check that all is well that would be best. Then everyone would be happy!

Hope that helps,


I know it can be a pain going to these asthma checks , but, honestly, my asthma nurses are a godsend. They are really well trained and know their stuff. I get a message every so often to make an appointment. They usually say twice a year for me, as mine has been difficult to control, but I have been more frequently than that , if I need to.

Only yourself to blame .

By law all patients have to be seen at least every six months for their prescriptions to remain valid . This is not the doctors fault .

PMRPete in reply to Griffon

Could you perhaps point out where this law is written. I am lucky to be seen once a year!

-Butterfly- in reply to Griffon

PMRPete, me too! Think oh I'll be due a review when repeat gets to 0, then magically goes back to 6 without a review!

PMRPete in reply to Griffon

page 28 does briefly mention 12 months for repeat scrips:-

"The repeat dispensing scheme, or batch prescriptions,

is another way of getting your medicines without

having to ask your GP for a prescription each time. You

are given a signed prescription with ‘RA’ on it with a set

of batch prescriptions marked ‘RD’ that are unsigned.

You take all of the prescriptions to your usual pharmacy.

The pharmacist will keep all of the prescriptions and give

you your medication on a regular basis as agreed by

the GP for up to 12 months. This dispensing scheme is

only suitable for patients with stable medical conditions. "


I agree!!

I have not seen an asthma nurse ( if one even exists! 😜) at my surgery... for about 10yrs.

I see a consultant about once/twice a year and have everything unchallenged (even pred and Antibs) on repeat script. They just seem to think that as I am referred I don’t need any further input/help.

I have been admitted 3x in the last year with asthma and have still not seen my Gp or a nurse regarding any follow up or input!

I just try to manage on my own... obviously badly atm!!!


LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to Pipsqueak77

I'm the same! I think I confuse the GP so they prefer to let the clinic handle me (or rather let me confuse the clinic). They are helpful with the prescriptions though as they will do a review by phone if needed so I can get repeats filled. My Ventolin does get refused sometimes but this is actually them doing their job because I get ridiculously frequent refills - I actually felt relieved that they noticed as in other people that use would be a massive red flag, and it's not ideal for me. When I call and explain they usually say oh OK the hospital knows you got through that much, and will reissue.

To the OP I would say reviews of technique can be useful even if you are an experienced asthmatic and they are meant to check this as a lot of people are not doing it right. BUT not all reviews are good ones and I do think that they should be more than a tick box exercise. I also think they should let you have an inhaler until you can get there for review, if they insist on the review. Not safe to be entirely without.

Worth noting if you are desperate you can buy blue inhalers via a private online prescription in the U.K. You really shouldn’t be without one, ideally you should be getting checked I was the same and have been hospitalised twice in the last month second time for 5 days.

Hi. This happened to me last year and I felt SO humiliated. Instead of complaining try makin an appointment to see the nurse and be VERY blunt as to how she and your doctor are making you feel.

Though guidelines are being adhered to there are EXCEPTIONS to the rules and your asthma nurse should recognise this and adjust your records and support YOUR needs.

If the appointment doesn’t go in your favour then THAT is the time to complain to the NHS council.

Goood luck!!

Thanks for all the comments. I’ve made an asthma review appointment but, they could only fit me in in 5 weeks time 🙄 I still haven’t got an inhaler yet either. Hopefully they don’t expect me to do without for 5 weeks until my appointment.

I must admit that my surgery have been pretty good - I was sent home from work last week due to other health issues and for some obscure reason put my symbicort inhaler in the fridge!! As I use it as both a preventer and reliever I called the surgery: within 10 minutes of my phone call they had issued a new prescription for my inhaler! Hope you get sorted soon 😊

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