Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Bill 2019: Committee Stage
I thank the Minister for his commitment today and answering the many phone calls during the week about this. I also thank him for meeting me and other colleagues. When contacted about this, he was very forthcoming in saying he would see what he could do about this. As there are four pharmacists and a pharmaceutical assistant in my family, I suppose at this stage I have a vested interest. Many of these people went to college, as eloquently described by my colleague, Senator Bacik.I commend Senator Bacik on putting down the amendment and on the work she has done in getting the amendment before the House today.
Pharmaceutical assistants have a valid role to play. As was said by Senator Reilly, patient safety is what we are all concerned with. These people have saved many lives. They have given great advice to people over the years. To turn around and tell them now they can only work one hour per day unsupervised makes no sense. I know a pharmacy where there is a pharmacist and an assistant in the practice. If the pharmacist gets sick, the assistant has to take over. It is not easy to get a locum at short notice. There are many knock-on implications. If this was not accepted today, it would affect the running of pharmacies. I thank the Minister.
I wish to namecheck Francis Campion Cassidy in Limerick. He has been part of the Minister's group and to the forefront in bringing this to our attention. I thank the other members of the Minister's group who are from the Limerick area. I have had considerable contact from them over a lengthy period.
Senator Bacik referred to continuing professional development. Many of the pharmaceutical assistants currently participate in CPD but making it compulsory is encouraging because it will ensure that everyone is up to speed with everything.
I thank the Minister for accepting the amendment today. It is most welcome.