Pharmacists welcome Minister’s commitment to increase investment in pharmacy services
- Discussions to begin on a new pharmacy contract and reversal of FEMPI
- Commitment to make progress by year-end
11 May 2019: Minister for Health Simon Harris has committed to delivering a new contract with pharmacists and moving beyond FEMPI in a way that will see an increased investment in pharmacy services. Addressing the delegates at the Irish Pharmacy Union’s (IPU) National Pharmacy Conference, the Minister said “There are undoubtedly opportunities for community pharmacy contractors in the next decade and I look forward to engaging with the IPU to enhance the delivery of primary care services through community pharmacy.”
Welcoming the Minister’s commitment, President of the IPU Daragh Connolly, said, “The IPU and our members strongly welcome Minster Harris’s clear commitment to begin a process that will bring about reform, modernisation and contractual overhaul for community pharmacy similar to his engagement with GPs. This will move the delivery of community healthcare to “higher terrain” that will ultimately bring huge benefits to patients and our communities.”
In his address Minister Harris said “The role community pharmacy plays in delivering health services to our citizens is a vital one. Expansion of community pharmacy services is an important part of better primary care provision.” He stated his strong desire to work with pharmacists and to see negotiations swiftly concluded to ensure that pharmacists move past FEMPI and he committed to providing investment to expand the role of pharmacies in primary care.”
Referring to the IPU’s repeated calls for implementation of a Minor Ailment Scheme, Minister Harris said that such schemes are proven to work. He went on to say there was no need for any more pilots and that a wider implementation was required.
A Minor Ailment Scheme would allow medical card holders to receive treatment for a number of specified ailments directly from their local community pharmacy, in a timely manner, without the need for an unnecessary visit to the GP.
Pharmacists have consistently called for improved accessibility of contraception for women. This includes the provision of oral contraceptives (the pill), without prescription and without charge. The Minister echoed this ambition and committed to working with pharmacists to achieve this in the coming months.
Minister Harris concluded by complimenting the role of pharmacists and said “in towns and villages throughout this country, you can be the shopfront of Sláintecare.”