"Medicine Shortage Information"

About: GPs in the O'Connor Electoral District Kalgoorlie Community Mental Health Service Kalgoorlie Mental Health Inpatient Service

(as the patient),

Recently (at an early date in a particular month), I had to get my script filled for 120mgs of a medication I require from Wizard Pharmacy in Kalgoorlie. Normally I am well stocked with my pills but had missed getting my script filled earlier.

The Pharmacist told me there was no 60mgs doses of my medication in stock. I would have to wait until after the end of the month until new stock came in or go back to get a new script 30mg.

My old doctor left town and Tower Medical had a new doctor who charged me $120 for my last visit. So I went to Boulder Medical, got the new script for 30mg tabs. By this stage the Chemist had run out of both stocks. I checked every chemist in town and there was none of the medication I needed in town. I went to Chemist On-line and was told that all of Australia had been affected by restricted supply's of this medication. I rang Kal Mental Health the day after to ask see if any other patients had the same problem and the admin. lady on the phone said no.  I asked, what can I do to get some help? The admin lady said it was probably best to see my GP. I hung up at this stage. 

Still unsettled with the fear of withdrawals from my medication I rang Kal Mental Health again 30mins later and asked to speak to the triage nurse. I was put through to the nurse and I asked for help with my dilemma. Her reply was to tell me what a great job the admin team does and what could she do to help. The triage nurse said that there wasn't anything they could do, but for me to back to GP. I hung up again starting to panic and knowing my GP wanted me to be referred back to Kal Mental Health. I rang Kal Mental health to speak to the triage nurse once more, but was told she'd left for the day. I asked reception what to do. I told her I had already been to my GP. She said that the triage nurse had done a good job of answering my questions.  So I hung up. I remember at the time thinking that some staff at Kal Mental Unit think they are really good at their jobs. Why then am I left feeling so isolated from any professional help? After 4 days of no medication I started to experienced nausea, vomiting, high temperatures and joint pain. By the end of the month I had become so unwell I just couldn't speak up for myself. I did manage to go for a cup of tea with my friend and I told them what had happened. My friend immediately helped me with showing me the website www.tga.gov.au for medicine shortage information. My medication was on top of the list. My friend helped me find a new GP who would help me sort out my medical crisis. I now have been referred by my new GP to CentreCare Mental Health portal. My GP would not change my medications until he had referred me to the Psychiatrists who discharged me from Mental Health Unit early in the year. My new GP said it had taken a long time to get the meds in their correct dosages, he wouldn't want to introduce a new antidepressant without a specialist referral. Now it's been approximately 30 days of not taking my medication. Each day seems to get better, but I am waiting for my GP to refer me back to Kal Mental Health treating psychiatrist. If I tell somebody what happened with me, it may prevent someone else going through the same crisis. My medication is still in short supply until the end of the year or even longer.

Responses

Response from Peter Tredinnick, A/Regional Director, Regional Office, WACHS Goldfields

Dear Medication Crisis,

I am sorry to hear of your recent experience regarding the supply shortages of your medication. Unfortunately the pharmacies do not communicate to WA Country Health Service when there is a shortage of medications unless the medication had been scripted by one of the doctors from our service. I will look into this in the near future and see if this is a process they would consider implementing to prevent shortages becoming an issue especially in regards to medications commonly used by mental health consumers.

After speaking with Wizard Pharmacy today they have informed me that there have been some supply shortages of late but they have now managed to source limited stocks and are continuing to do so.

I have spoken with our Community Mental Health team and I can assure you that they are deeply sorry for upsetting you in any way and not being able to provide you with enough assistance. It troubles me that you felt the only option was to hang up three times and not get an answer, I will address this with the Mental Health team and remind them of the importance of providing good customer service.

As you have now gone 30 days without medication and even though you state each day is getting better, I encourage you to seek an appointment with your GP or alternatively if you call our team leader, Sharon Southall on 08 9080 6200 she will be happy to assist you with receiving a medication review with a psychiatrist as soon as possible and Mental Health can liaise with your GP if you consent to this.

I thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, we appreciate your feedback which will now assist us in making a positive change for the future.

Kind regards

Peter Tredinnick

A/Regional Director

WACHS Goldfields

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