Isolation diary: Getting my prescription

Simple everyday procedures can get a bit complicated when in self isolation, but we are discovering some new ways of doing things.

Like most people of my age I do take some medication; there is nothing serious to worry about but they do make my life more comfortable.  Our local medical centre houses two GP surgeries and a pharmacy, so every two months I email the pharmacy and ask them to request my repeat prescription. They then email back when it is ready for collection.

Fortunately, the pharmacy already offers a delivery service, so it was easy enough to ask them to deliver it this time. I do know that I could also call on the local Covid-19 volunteers to help if needed.

The surgery also holds a number of drop in clinics, including one for people who have hearing aids, as I do.  Every couple of months I turn up, and the technician replaces the silicone earpieces and gives me some more batteries. It is so much more convenient to do that locally instead of attending the hearing clinic at the hospital.

When I realised that I was almost out of batteries, I wondered how I would get replacements. I could, of course, have phoned the GP or the hospital audiology department and asked what I should do. But I really didn’t want to bother them, so just bought some online. I paid £15.99 for a pack of 60 which will keep me going for over a year.

However batteries are free on the NHS, so it should be simple to get them under lockdown. Many elderly people with limited income have hearing aids, and I don’t actually know how they are getting hold of new batteries at the moment, or how they can access a technician if their hearing aids are faulty.

I’ve just done a quick search on Google but can’t find any information at all that relates to my area, although other parts of the country do seem to have posted advice.

My husband has now experienced a couple of video consultations with his GP and specialists. He found it a very helpful process once he had accessed the app – unlike Parliament local doctors don’t risk using Zoom.

Now that professionals have tried new ways of working I imagine many will want to continue with them in the post-coronavirus future.  I would certainly prefer to have a video consultation with my GP for a straightforward ailment rather than risk picking up germs in the waiting room. Of course, at a certain point there is nothing to replace a doctor’s direct observation of a patient, but with fewer attending the surgery in person the risks to other patients and to the medical staff will be greatly reduced.

Unfortunately, remote consultations do not work with dentists. My one great fear during lockdown is of developing severe toothache – the kind that literally keeps you awake all night longing for the moment when you can call the dentist. Thankfully dentists are allowed to give emergency treatment through Urgent Dental Care hubs, although I do hope they are now functioning better than when this article was written.



Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Just occasionally hearing aids can be a pain during virtual meetings, causing interference, but sensitive muting by whoever is running the show will normally suffice.

  • I get my hearing aid batteries by post from the hospital. Just send in the card and back they come.

  • David Rogers 29th Apr '20 - 12:40pm

    Both my partner and I have used Pharmacy2U for our repeat prescriptions, for at least a couple of years now, and I can highly recommend the service. Once set up (which is itself simple) the email and/or text reminders are timely, followed by the ordering, prescribing, and postal delivery of the items. Of course I realise that not (yet) everyone is able to benefit from such electronic means, but a growing majority – even in older age-groups – is. Neither of us has yet had reason to use any aspect of E-Consult, but would anticipate doing so in the future if needed.

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