I am glad to report that the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has instructed his officials to meet with the IPU and a meeting was held with representatives of the Department of Health this week. Following this meeting the IPU’s Pharmacy Contractors Committee met this morning and agreed to enter a process of engagement with the Department of Health.
The talks are without preconditions on either party, but we are satisfied that we have now entered a process of engagement with the Department of Health with another scheduled meeting already arranged for the end of July.
This is the most significant development on pay and service talks with the Department in many years and it follows the sustained campaigning by you, our members, in addition to many years of consistent advocacy by IPU staff and the IPU Committees.
However, we still have a lot of work to do, and the campaign is far from over. There is no commitment that any pay restoration will be forthcoming, so we need you to continue to work with us on our ongoing campaign. This is merely a first step in what may turn out to be a long process, but I assure you our core demand remains the same; a restoration of our dispensing fee to €6.50 linked to public sector pay.
We will continue with your assistance to highlight through our campaigning the immense pressures on our sector and will press the state to deliver investment in community pharmacy to ensure we have a sustainable future, which will meet the needs of our patients.
I will keep you updated on developments.
Derek, Secretary General (Acting)