IPU

Pharmacists demanding reversal of recession era cutbacks in Budget 2020

  • Pharmacy sector being treated like ’Cinderella’ when it comes to unwinding FEMPI fee cuts
  • Sustainability of pharmacy profession is at risk if Government does not act

IPU, 02 October 2019: At their Budget 2020 briefing today, the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) is calling for a reversal to the savage FEMPI fee cuts imposed on pharmacies since the recession.

There are currently over 1,900 community pharmacies providing services to people throughout the country. The majority (89%) of these are family owned businesses, each of whom bears the scars of cuts which removed a total of €1.54 billion in revenues from the sector between 2009 and 2018.

On average, family-run pharmacies saw their income from the State schemes fall by a third during this period.

Earlier this year, the Government committed to the reversal of FEMPI cuts for GPs, but pharmacists are still waiting for delivery on promises made to them.

Secretary General of the IPU Darragh O’Loughlin today said “Our members continue to bear the scars of FEMPI and are getting tired of waiting around for a reversal of these cuts. Three years ago, the Government committed to starting the restoration of fees to pharmacists. To date nothing has happened, and we are sick of being treated like the Cinderella of the health system.

“With 2,200 IPU members working in 1,900 pharmacies in every town and city in the country, pharmacists are the first port of call for patients in the Irish health service. Pharmacies need to be properly resourced to provide the level of service that patients require. While our members have doubled down on health service delivery over the years, in the face of an increasingly difficult environment, the time has now come for renewed investment in pharmacy services and to deliver on clear commitments in the Programme for Government”.

“The failure by Government to do anything meaningful for pharmacy in Budget 2020 risks doing structural damage to the whole profession. Already, community pharmacy is no longer regarded as an attractive career option for young pharmacists, which will have a knock-on impact on the sustainability of the services we provide”.

Mr O’Loughlin concluded “The health system needs to be fit for purpose and pharmacy is an essential part of it; FEMPI cuts must be unwound in Budget 2020 to address the decade-long underfunding of the service.”

ENDS

Further information:

Jim Curran, IPU  Director of Communications & Strategy, 086 264 0469

Siobhán Kane, IPU Press and Communications Manager, 087 7751510

Stephen Fitzpatrick, MKC Communications, 086 0870501