Pharmacist, Boots, Keep asking me about my Blood tests being up to date

My local boots, Sandbach, keep asking me about my blood test being up to date. Why is this any of their business? they have been presented with a duly authorised script from my doctor who is responsible for monitoring my condition. My RA consultant decides on the medication. I go there to have it serviced and nothing else!

Are Boots suggesting that my Doctor is being incompetent by issuing said script erroneously? Are Boots suggesting that they have been granted the authority to check up and oversee my medical practice or are they just phishing for data and information from my medical records which as far as I am aware they have absolutely no right to at all. I have already had several discussions aboutthe information they try to keep on file about me.

Do they have any any legal right to ask me about my treatment and its monitoring? My medical records are private for a reason, who do they think they are that they can just ask what they like. They are just a high street shop to me, used to service my duly authorised prescriptions.

Any definitive answers would be greatly appreciated,


UPDATE as of 1500hrs 19.01.2016




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49 Replies

  • Chemists are trying desperately to add to their credibility and I must say added to by the government to ask extra " health questions" or do you want to stop smoking/ lose weight etc when you visit . They get the extra business and the health promotion teams get the quodos!

    Tell them your not interested! Xx

  • I was thinking of something a little stronger, it just bugs me so much the way they are always collecting data, but yours is probably a better, nicerer idea if you will, thanks Allanah.


  • They aren't just a shop, they are qualified pharmacists, some can prescribe, and if there is an error, ie a doctor writes a wrong dose and they still dispense, they would be negligent and therefore have some accountability.

    Remember their degree is in pharmacology, they at some point or still do want to help people, and the fact they work for a high Street chain doesn't make them a bad pharmacist, there is not a lot of NHS work out there now.

    This particular one is being a little hypervigilant, but I would think of it is in a less sinister way, possibly they have had a bad experience with a GP who didn't monitor correctly (not unheard of!)

    Allanah is correct, pharmacists are being asked to do more, ie treat minor illnesses and take pressure of GPs,(without getting into the rights and wrongs or politics of that, as I am just getting ready for work :) ) if they take their responsibility seriously its not a bad thing.

    I would be mildly irritated and say don't worry I would not go to a GP who didn't do his job properly, but I would be less cynical about the reasons they asked.

    Just my perspective, as fo r data collection, if you are unhappy with boots can you go elsewhere? I rarely use the same one twice!

  • I did say "They are just a high street shop to me, used to service my duly authorised prescriptions." obviously they are different things to different people, to me? well....

    And yes you are correct, I shall vote with my feet, it must be plain to see how frustrated I am with them but this is because of past experience of them interferring and collecting data on their computer which I had to have removed in front of me in the past.

    So I shall change pharmacists and submit a data access request to see what other transgressions they have taken upon themselves.


  • How sad to not recognize that pharmacists are well trained professionals looking out for your health. I hope your physician never makes an error in prescribing. If so you will be one of the lucky ones.

  • How Sad

  • The pharmasist has a responsibility to ensure you are having the correct drugs and as you know taking certain medication needs to be monitored by blood tests. It's your choice to refuse to give the information which they can put on their system this then leaves them free of any negligence on their part of issuing the drugs. The nhs is overstretched and it is another way of taking the stress of the consultants and gp. As I go to the same pharmacy at Asda ive got to know the staff and find it reassuring that they are another set of people helping to take care of my health. You will find people in the que asking advice from the pharmasist. You'd be surprised at how much knowledge they have as to whether the drug you take is the correct one.

  • So I guess that you,d be happy with them changing your medication for you, not for me I have an experienced medical team deciding whether my medication is correct for me specialists in the disease, people who know me and my condition at any given time, they not strangers over a counter applying general rules of thumb out a book.

    But thanks for the reply all the same

  • A pharmacist does not make changes on their own, but in consultation with your doctor.

  • Because they can't..... My point exactly why are they even getting invoved?

  • Mine does too. There is a little card in my script folder to say on Mtx and am always asked. I take oodles of drugs, but that is the only one that they ask about when picking up my loaded carrier bag. It's because of what it is. I have been asked at other chemists too.

    I don’t mind them asking, because on one occasion I saw a different doctor who said to me "My, you take a of drugs!" then she prescribed me a pill for something can't remember now, went to pick it up and the pharmacist (at the doctor's surgery) he said "Why are you taking these and who did you see?" The label said - warning, will cause life threatening condition when taken with....... one of my normal drugs that I take, so I think, thank goodness he was on the ball as this doctor didn't check.

  • My pharmacy is attached to my GP surgery and I have a yearly review with the pharmacist. Pharmacists have a duty of care when dispensing drugs as mistakes can and do happen when prescriptions are written. So as far as I'm concerned they can check as often as they like, I worked as a nurse/midwife for 40 yrs and know that mistakes get made. The more people checking the better.

  • My chemist is brilliant and is the first place i go to if i have a query,but he never asks me about my blood tests as he knows me well enough to know i would have all my blood tests when needed. Mind you it would have nothing to do with the chemist whether you had your blood tests unless boots are planning to do them for the doctors.xxxxx

  • I got asked a lot more questions than normal at Boots the other day - when was my last blood test, was I taking my folic acid, any side effects. The pharmacist looked a little uncomfortable asking and said he now had to ask because of the nature of the medicines. I also had to sign a form to confirm he'd asked me the questions. The thing about Boots that annoys me most is the electronic prescription service. I order my tablets from my GP using their system online service but Boots keep pestering me to let them order them for me. Their inefficiency at dispensing is bad enough. They are supposed to let me know by text when prescription is ready. After 3 days I hear nothing, go in, then have to wait while they find it on the computer then more waiting while they make up the prescription.

  • I find this only with Boots, and the little bits of info and data they try and squirrel away on their computer with no valid reason for doing so, nothing more than phishing, if it were an email it would be spam.

    As you say if they were truly efficient then perhaps a little slack could be given,

    I'm looking to change now, the response to my seems to be that I should just give in to them and let them have all the info they want. I think not,


  • I think that it is their business, and they are perfectly entitled to ask and probably should ask if you're not a well known customer. Like Mirren I respect that they are qualified pharmacists and not just shop assistants dishing out smarties. They are not many accidents with methotrexate, but I've read about cases where things have happened that have led to patients dying so if this avoids even one death then surely it's a good thing?

    Mine used to ask me every time, and I didn't have a problem showing my monitoring book. They do not keep or record the information, but merely ask to check that I have had a blood test recently, so I don't see why you are concerned about issues of data collection. I get the injections direct now, so don't go via the chemists anymore.

    These are strong and potentially dangerous drugs, so personally I'm quite happy for people to ask questions. If I were the pharmacist I might be tempted to suggest you get your prescriptions elsewhere, but they'd probably lose their job for suggesting that.

  • My "Doctor" monitors my health and treatment, why should i need a third party questioning the Doctors competencey. I go to Boots to have my script serviced nothing more. Every time they ask me they are in fact asking Should your doctor have prescribed this for you. The majority of people replying to my original post seem not to see that, but in essence thats exactly what they are doing.

    Thanks for your reply

  • I didn't read your post to mean that they actually asked you whether you needed the drug. I read that you were offended by them asking to check that you have had a recent blood test? If that's what they asked then to me that is in no way querying whether you need the drug.

    If they asked specifically if you should have it at all, then you are right that's not their call unless they've noticed a contra-indication.

    Unfortunately mistakes happen, which is the better pharmacists double check. To me you are not going to a pharmacist just to get a script serviced - but you are asking a responsible professional to dispense drugs that are not over the counter items, and are things that could do you harm so they are within their rights to check that everything is in order.

  • MY problemis the fact they asking about my treatment and monitoring at all. My medical records are private for a reason, the fact they ask me about my bloods effectively is questioning whether the prescribing doctor has actually done his job prior to duly authorising the script, so I actually find their questions offensive on two counts.

    thanks for your reply,

  • We obviously see the world in very different ways. So probably best to agree to disagree.

  • They are not asking about your medical records, it's a requirement for them to check you are being monitored before dispensing the drugs. Mtx is a toxic drug and there have been mistakes in the past with Gps not monitoring patients so it is for your own safety that the pharmacist asks to see that your blood tests are up to date. Irritating I know, but just something that has to be done and hopefully no-one else will die from incorrect prescribing of mtx. All they are looking at is the date and results of your latest blood test. Maybe the paharmacy you go to is not being discreet about it, you don't want everyone in the queue to know what you are taking. Maybe try another pharmacy?

  • The pharmacist has a clinical responsibility for each prescription they deal with and for certain prescriptions they need to ask questions to confirm the prescription is clinically safe for you the patient, its nothing to do with questioning the GPs competence or keeping data about you on their records. For things such as methotrexate and warfarin it is important to confirm you are being monitored as you should be so they know the item is still clinically appropriate for you. Its a shame you don't understand the value of the pharmacist and just seem to think they are a shop assistant, they have trained in pharmacology for 4/5 years and are very knowledgeable people.

  • Fascinating, I have never been asked anything other than what my address is! I have been using the same chemist for many years and do know the staff, and the 2 pharmacists are both charming and helpful. Recently one went out of his way to find me a vegetarian vitamin D3 in capsule form.

  • A national patient safety alert was put out in mid 2000s, highlighting that there were avoidable deaths and harm caused by methotrexate - and that these could be reduced by implementing some safety steps - like flagging the drug on the GP IT system, good record keeping and review of blood results, being careful to ensure patients got 2.5mg tablets consistently. Pharmacists play a role in ensuring that when dispensing they help keep this safety chain going- that the patient is being monitored, gets the right tablets, is taking folic acid. When I pick up my prescription from a pharmacist who goes through things properly, I am grateful that they are playing their role in helping us keep safe. They may save someone's life.

  • I am pleased your happy with the situation, but I like my privacy and i do not want to discuss any aspect of my RA of seven years over the counter in a public shop with someone who has no knowledge of my current status.

    thanks for your reply

  • I was given the monitoring booklet by my nurse, and i asked how to get it filled in. She had no idea who was responsible for the record keeping, but warned me that I would have to show it at the chemist. My first 2 prescriptions were filled at Superdrug, where I was not asked for my booklet, or given the necessary patient information leaflet. My last prescription was filled at my regular chemist who asked to see the booklet, and wasn't happy that no one had bothered to fill it in, and checked that I knew all about the risks etc. I would much rather the latter approach, than feel that no one cares about my health.

  • My Doctors fill in the Book for my Blood tests and keep records, they are the ones prescribing the drugs, they have that information to do so, they are following the requirements placed upon them with regard to MTX.

    tx for your reply

  • I still get my injection from the hospital and I always have to handin my book. They always ask if I have had them before. I just see it as extra safety measures. My local pharmacy dispense my other shed load. I have a yearly review and they check evwry time I have a new drug and go through it clearly.

  • When I was first diagnosed last year, I hobbled into my chemist armed with a consultants prescription for Methotrexate and Folic Acid.

    Blimey you would have thought I was presenting them with a request for weapons grade Uranium!

    So much fuss was made, phone calls to hospitals etc that in the end they told me to take it back to my GP because they weren't prepared to prescribe it.

    I overheard the pharmacist say to his colleague, ' why do they prescribe something so toxic for something as innocuous as RA?'

    My body might not work but there ain't nowt wrong with my hearing yet!

    I found all this really traumatic not to mention time wasting as I wanted to get my treatment started.

    My GP was insensed on my behalf And got on the phone and sorted it pronto.

    Loads of faff and lasted a week on that because of a rapid rise in my ALT.

    Next came Sulfasalazine and Hydroxychloroquine both of which the same pharmacist misread the script and gave me wrong doses for.

    Being a bit obsessive compulsive about correctness as I am when it comes to what I'm shoving in my gob it's a damn good job I checked, checked again and only took the wrong dose of Sulfa once.

    I still use this chemist as its very convenient and my repeat prescriptions are done electronically but I am extraordinarily grateful that my big guns drugs are now delivered by courier.

    Going back to the original poster and their issues with Boots in their case. I would change chemists if I felt they were infringing on my privacy.

    I use a smal village Boots for all my Mothers drugs and I'm not overly impressed at their efficiency but they make up for it in kindness.

    Always very careful when getting signatures for controlled drugs though.

    The faff and chaos of my 6 month journey with RA has from the outset been a trial and error mishmash of professionals not being quite up to the mark. I can cope as I'm young enough and on the ball mostly but I really really do feel for those less able who have to navigate their way through everything.

    Hugs for all.


  • Pharmacists are not supposed to dispense methotrexate without checking that your blood tests are up to date, so it's up to you to act responsible and take your results book when you collect the prescription. They are not being nosy, just doing their job correctly.

  • Then perhaps they ought to be checking with the Doctor, or perhaps the Doctor might not be so forthcoming with my Private medical Records.

    Or perhaps the Doctor might not be so forthcoming when they see a local high street Pharmacist bringing into question their professional competence. As the doctor shouldn't have issued the script without having checked my bloods first. It is The Doctor who is responsible for the monitoring of my condition, not some totally isolated pharmacist who has absolutely no idea of thestate of my condition.

    Thanks for your reply

  • No really, it's what they have to do. I suppose in a way they are making sure the doctor is monitoring you because there have been fatal accidents with mtx in the past. They honestly are not just after your data, they don't copy the details or anything, it's what they are required to do. I find it a bit irritating too but they are just doing their job . It's much easier for them just to check patients' blood results book than to ring everyone's GP to check.

  • Thanks for your reply Where does this requirement for the pharmacist come from please?

  • I'm not sure about that, I just know that I was told when I started mtx to take my blood results book when I collect the presciptions ,and it says in the book that the pharmacist needs to see it. I know a lot of pharmacists don't bother.

  • To quote

    It's a NHS Patient Safety Alert applicable in England and Wales to reduce the risk of patient harm associated with the incorrect dosing frequency of oral methotrexate.

    Oral methotrexate is a safe and effective medication if taken at the right dose and with appropriate monitoring. However, very occasionally problems with taking the medication can cause serious harm and even death.

    Since July 2004 the National Reporting and Learning Service received 165 patient safety incidents reports involving oral methotrexate.

    Feedback from the Safety Alert Broadcast System (SABS) indicates that 18 per cent (104 out of 569) of NHS organisations in England have still not reported having fully implemented the actions set out in patient safety alert (03).

    One of the actions is to require pharmacists to check the patient held monitoring books before dispensing methotrexate.

  • Maybe I can throw some light on that on behalf of Doreen. The following extract is taken from the Health & Social Care information Centre website

    "In June 2015, it was announced that the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) had been commissioned by NHS England to lead on the implementation of SCR in to community pharmacies. Rollout has now commenced, and is expected to be complete by Autumn 2017."

    Maybe this link will explain the additional involvement of Pharmacists in partnership with the NHS

    Personally I don't see it as a negative or an infringement of rights, the more we're monitored the safer we will be, that's the intent. The pharmacy in question is carrying out necessary guidelines to ensure you are in a safe position to take the drug they're dispensing. That said if you have your drug monitoring bloods at your GP surgery anomalies ought to be flagged up & they should contact you to discuss cessation or amendment of dose. Think of it as another fail safe which has been put in place possibly?

    The Pharmacist is a link in your treatment chain & to fulfil their obligation are at liberty to request sight of your latest blood test results.

    I totally understand what prompted you to post your question, without knowing about the changes it could be considered as breaking patient confidentiality. You do have the option.... if you're not happy with the service you receive at present you can change where you have your scripts filled, it may help you personally to form a professional relationship with an independent chemist. I have mine filled at the same one each time & have an excellent relationship with the Pharmacist & Assistants but to get that I've had to accept that medical access is necessary.

    On more than one occasion with my h's meds queries have arisen & the Pharmacist consulted with his GP about his choice of medication, she picked up on a couple of meds from a particular group he had bad reactions to being prescribed on two separate occasions, saving a possible call for paramedics. Without her intervention my h may still be being treated for "asthma" & the the actual coronary artery failures & subsequent op wouldn't have been as straightforward had he suffered a heart attack as a result of continuing to be misdiagnosed & treated as having asthma. We've a lot to be grateful to her for.

    I hope my rambling has helped understand the changing role of Pharmacists & why the question was put to you. :)

  • Never been asked for my book when on tablets, but since been on injections I don't even have a book, phlebotomist at my surgery said I would be contacted if anything shows up in the results. Local chemist is very good, but never asks for blood results.


    This is quite definitive I think...first paragraph of page 19.

  • That would certainly explain as to WHY they are asking, thank you.

    As i am still not happy with that extra level of burocracy in the chain I will still find an independant with which to build a relationship. Something I have never been able to do where I am even after 7 years of it.

    Thank you again for research and the document which I have printed off to keep,

    Best Regards


  • That bureaucracy may save your or someone else's life one day.

    It doesn't matter WHO prescribes medication, it is the responsibility of the dispensing pharmacist to 'check' that that specific medication is being dispensed appropriately, at the correct doseage, to the correct person.

    The dispensing pharmacist is accountable for what they give to who - any pharmacy that doesn't check these criteria and give out meds 'willy nilly' should be a concern!

    They have no specific interest in YOU (and I mean that in the nicest way) ) they see hundreds of people everyday but they have to abide by their qualifications and the responsibility/accountability that it brings with it. Theyre not to know that you have vast knowledge & experience with your illness/disease/pain or whatever - how do they know, that you know, that you're supposed to be up to date with bloods?

    Pharmacy assistants also have the basic training for the implications of selling/giving out certain medication etc.

    They have to cover their backside's from a professional point of view and a business point of view.

    Boots are, at the end of the day, a business that cannot afford to allow their pharmacists to be slack in their job!

    If you find a local chemist with whom you build a relationship with the pharmacist, then that's great for you but you have to hope that 'the chain' is oiled that day!!



  • I was on MTX for 3.5 years. Initially dispensed by the Hospital pharmacy, I then changed GP surgeries to one with a Specialist RA GP so they became responsible for issuing prescriptions subject to the annual consultant appointment. I've never been asked by the local independent pharmacy about my blood test results. Although still on sulpha which they dispense for me, I'm also on biologics now which are delivered directly to me. That said, the other year the pharmacy did try and get me to agree to a medication review which the GP normally does in conjunction with the consultant's advice, but when I said I wasn't interested as the GP did this himself, it was left at that and I suspect marked on my record with them not to ask again.

    As to Boots, they are somewhat infamous for being nosey when people even just purchase medication over the counter, far more than any other pharmacy I've used. On one occasion they refused to sell my mother a packet of Sudafed because she said they were for my father who wasn't with her. Suffice to say, while she normally would use a local independent pharamcy, when she next had to purchase something from them she said they were for her. While I can appreciate that they have a duty of care to ensure correct use of medication, it does seem that as a company they have a policy to be overcautious and interrogate to the extreme. All that happens is that I suspect many people avoid using them and visit local pharmacies instead.

  • I'm in Scotland and dont use Boots anyway but I'm wondering whether its anything to do with creeping privatisation? Its good that pharmacists are accessible and you can ask their advice, but I'm fairly sure that Boots is one of those companies with HQ in Luxembourg who avoid taxes in this country.

    When I lived iin Oxford the Boots thre tried to have some sort of control over my meds and I didnt like that.

  • Switzerland Cathie, same difference though!!

  • I think you're confusing 'chemist' and 'pharmacy'.............


  • That was in response to Ragls update at 1500...........


  • I personally don't see it as a problem they are just looking after your welfare and its probably part of their job to ask. My pharmacist has stepped in for me often when my doc has made a mistake to the point where the doc has rung me up to apologise x

  • I agree, it's not a problem. I'm sure none of us are ashamed of the fact that we need this drug so should be willing to comply with regulations and let the pharmacist do his/her job in accordance with their guidelines. They are within their rights to refuse to dispense mtx if they cannot see proof of monitoring.

  • What a shame, it seems the OP has deleted their profile. I have read all the responses, and I don't think anyone was over harsh, it was a really important and legitimate discussion. I feel bad if the person has left the group over it.

  • She was a new member Jackie, this was her first post so maybe she only wanted other people's thoughts on it? That's what I surmised when I read her addendum. Maybe she'll join again if she wishes to.

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