My bladder-control drug is ‘seriously old, I mean seriously, decades old’, says the seriously young doctor in the uro-dynamics clinic.
Somehow I feel this is my fault. Like, durrh, why are you taking that old-fashioned junk? Umm, because a GP prescribed it…
The side effects are naff. Dry mouth I knew about, but dry eyes? ‘Oh yes, it causes dry eyes too. Dries up all your mucus…’ A head-slapping moment of realisation – THAT’S why my eyes have felt full of sand for more than a year??? ‘Oh yes… Natch.’ I quickly process how much I’ve spent on dry eye spray and move on.
I am prescribed the latest drug on the market, which has fewer side effects, and leave feeling nicely on trend.
‘No, I can’t prescribe that without a letter and a decision from the CCG team’ says my GP at my drugs review the next day. ‘It’s a seriously new drug’, she explains.
And I’m left feeling as though it’s my fault again. I’ve jumped a queue by mistake and a man in a suit is rattling his Times at me. ‘Gosh, so sorry’, I fluster in my head. ‘Of course I should have tried some more mature drugs before racing ahead with those bright young things.’
It is is down to cost and accountability. NICE hasn’t said the new drug is the most appropriate treatment to calm bladders made excitable by MS – (I want to go again, pleease can I go again? You’ve only just been!). GPs in the new clinical commissioning groups can’t prescribe it long-term just because an enthusiastic hospital doctor has decided to give it a whirl.
As an empowered patient, I have to ‘just get a letter’ from the hospital justifying the prescription… wish me luck.
*Both doctors – the ‘seriously young’ one (simply a lot younger than me) and the cash-conscious GP – saw me promptly, were friendly and explained what they could in the time available. It’s the system that needs tweaking, not the people.