Irish pharmacists and their staff play a vital role in the primary healthcare system. Pharmacists are committed to delivering a quality, accessible, personal and professional service that puts the patient first. There are over 1,500 community pharmacies in the Republic of Ireland and with the typical person visiting a community pharmacy 19 times a year, pharmacists are the first port of call within the healthcare system.
Many people believe that a pharmacist’s job is just to dispense medicines, however your local pharmacist does a great deal more than meets the eye.
Your pharmacist is a healthcare professional who can assist you with your health concerns quickly. They can offer you information about treatments, explanations on medication interactions and much more. They will also guide you to other health professionals or community services, if required.
The role of the pharmacist has grown over the past two years with pharmacists now providing Emergency Hormonal Contraception without a prescription and also providing the flu vaccine. The IPU hopes that the role of the pharmacist continues to grow so that pharmacists can offer more services to patients.
Disease and chronic illness management
Pharmacists in Ireland, in co-operation with GPs, are also able to support you through longer term health issues such as diabetes and asthma. Pharmacists are well placed to assist you to start the process of stopping smoking and support you while you quit. Also many pharmacies in Ireland help to support those recovering from drug addictions by providing essential methadone treatment programmes.
Simple health tests
Some pharmacists provide basic health ‘check-ups’ in the pharmacy. During these consultations they can run several tests on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This useful service can provide you with insight into your health, and might highlight levels of risk that you can follow up with your GP.
In the future, the IPU hopes that the role of the pharmacist will expand even further. We are exploring ways that pharmacists might be able to prescribe for minor ailments. We are also lobbying the government to allow pharmacists to substitute generic, or non-branded prescriptions, which can help save you money.