I have the misfortune to need a long list of items each month on my NHS prescription.

For the last few years I have just ticked the items on the last prescription copy and left it at the reception desk at my surgery, requesting pick-up at the next-door pharmacy.

Not anymore.

Surgery is closed for visitors and there is no letter-box.

Do it online, everyone says, so I registered with Patient Access and received confirmation.

However, to order prescriptions online I need a doctor's letter of authorisation and should get this from my surgery.

The practice now diverts all calls to their local call-centre, and this afternoon I was number 44 in line.

Their website has a form for requests for doctor’s letters, which I duly completed and submitted.

Within hours I received a text message that said I needed to see my doctor face to face, but they regretted this was not currently available.

David Stevens