Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Bill 2019: Committee Stage
Most people have covered the purpose of the amendment. The Minister sought to sign into law new rules pertaining to pharmaceutical assistants. Sinn Féin tried to rectify this in the Dáil but, unfortunately, our Report Stage amendment was ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle.
These proposals extend the right to undertake continuing professional development to pharmaceutical assistants and subject them to a code of conduct, thus addressing in a more proportionate manner a perceived public safety matter related to the profession. There are other similar and ongoing issues within nursing - I refer to the introduction of or the increase in the nursing assistant grade - with concerns related to regulation, accountability, responsibility and a code of conduct in that respect. It is great to see something positive happening at this end, especially for a profession that is 90% female.
Pharmaceutical assistants are very knowledgeable as locals will go into pharmacies and chat to them, seeking advice and getting information on common or everyday ailments. A person would be guaranteed that the advice would work and not do any harm. Demand will increase on pharmacies and pharmaceutical assistants because of the paucity of GPs and what is often a long wait for GP appointments. I am delighted this Bill will go through and it looks like everybody will support it across the Seanad.