IPU welcomes commitments to community pharmacies within Programme for Government

15 June 2020 The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has welcomed the commitments towards expanding the role of community pharmacies contained within the draft Programme for Government published today. The IPU has said that they hope talks on a new pharmacy contract can commence immediately and be concluded within this calendar year.

Commenting on the Programme for Government, IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin said, “Over the past few months, throughout the COVID-19 crisis, community pharmacies have played a pivotal role in responding to the health needs of people in communities across the country. With 78 million visits per year, pharmacies are the most accessed part of our healthcare system. Despite this, we have long been both undervalued and underutilised by successive governments.

“We welcome the commitment to commence talks with pharmacists on a new contract and enhancement of our role in the delivery of healthcare in the community. Pharmacists want to do more for their patients, and we hope these talks will focus on adding to the range of healthcare services provided in Ireland’s 1,900 pharmacies. This has the potential to deliver significant benefits to patients and to the system as a whole, and to free up GP and A&E time for more complex cases.

“The inclusion of pharmacies in commitments to expand primary and community care, making the vast majority of healthcare services available in the home or close to home, rather than in our hospitals, is very positive. We look forward to working with the new Minister for Health and their officials to develop this programme focused on improved health outcomes and implementing it across the country.

Mr. O’Loughlin warned that pharmacists are growing wary of false promises and delayed action, “After a decade of decline in payments for delivering services on behalf of the State, pharmacy businesses and their staff are under unsustainable pressure. Previous promises of talks on additional services and resources have consistently failed to materialise. The time for empty talk has gone; now we need action. We hope to meet with the new Minister for Health, once appointed, in the first few days of their time in office and agree a defined timeline to make good on these commitments before the year is out.”

O’Loughlin concluded by stating, “Pharmacists are ready, willing, and waiting to do more for their patients. We look forward to working with the new Government to make it a reality.”


For further information contact:

Siobhán Kane, Press and Communications Manager, 087 775 1510