- Irish healthcare crisis mirrors similar crises in countries across Europe
- UK research suggests pharmacists could deal with 1 in every 7 GP visits
28 January 2015: A seminar on healthcare has heard that as many as 1 in 7 visits currently made to a GP surgery could actually be dealt with in a local pharmacy at lower cost and with greater efficiency.
Speakers at the Annual Seminar of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) have argued that Irish pharmacists hold the key to relieving mounting pressures in GP surgeries. Professor Colin Bradley, Head of Department of General Practice, University College Cork, said that the role of the pharmacist should be expanded so that patients can seek care at the appropriate level and, thus, enhance their independence within the healthcare system.
Kathy Maher, President of the IPU, has urged the Government to engage with pharmacists with a view to extending the range of services they can offer to members of the public; "internationally, there is a great drive to increase the efficiency of the health services and, in particular, to reduce pressure on GP surgeries by removing those patients whose needs can be dealt with more effectively by other healthcare professionals, such as pharmacists."
Ms Maher called on Government to introduce a Minor Ailments Scheme under which pharmacists could provide treatment to patients with minor ailments, including Medical Card patients who currently have to attend at their GP surgery to obtain prescriptions for a treatment, even if it is for a non-prescription medication.