Commenting on my previous post Jenn asked:
Please explain - website generated prescriptions. We cannot get a prescription without first seeing a dr. Does this work for antibiotics for ear infections and strep? Because I would be officially jealous. I always know before the lab tests when my children have strep and the dr. never believes me until he sees the lab results. This ends up with repeated appts. and labs until I can get a positive result and meds.The answer is a bit long for a comment, so I've turned it into another post.
Website generated prescriptions are an oddity, thanks to the swine flu pandemic. Once it became apparent flu was likely to reach epidemic levels, the government set up a swine flu helpline, available both by phone and online. The idea is that people with suspected flu bypass the usual medical system and are kept away from doctors' surgeries as much as possible, rather than turn them into a viral disaster zone. The online helpline goes through a questionnaire designed to identify people with symptoms likely to be flu, and if your symptoms tick the right boxes it generates an automatic prescription for Tamiflu. You get a unique code number for a friend or relative to take to a specified pharmacy and collect the medication. Obviously this is only intended for straightforward cases. Anyone with underlying health conditions or other risk factors is diverted back into the normal medical system.
No, we can't get prescriptions for antibiotics - or anything else except antivirals - online, convenient as that would be. However, primary care doctors here rarely bother with lab tests for ear infections or sore throats, and simply use clinical judgement as to whether or not to prescribe antibiotics. As I understand it their decision would depend on severity of the infection, length it has lasted, and past history - so for a child with a history of needing antibiotics to shift throat infections, chances are you would get them more quickly.
Speaking of antibiotics ... poor Cherub is still not well. I decided not to give her the Tamiflu as she seemed to be much better over the past couple of days, and well on the mend by this morning. This afternoon she went downhill again, with another fever, a nasty cough and noisy breathing. After a phone conversation with a nurse and a trip to the out-of-hours doctor, the conclusion was that she didn't have flu, but now has a chest infection needing antibiotics. Ugh!