Tuesday, 5 March 2019
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Personnel
101. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if all Defence Forces pharmacists, civilian and military, are on the same pay scale; if they are on a HSE equivalent pay scale with increments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10555/19]
102. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the position regarding the external civilian pharmacy being used instead of a pharmacy (details supplied); if it has been offered a full-time contract instead of the usual out of hours emergency contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10559/19]
103. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the position regarding the Defence Force pharmacies; if they are regulated; if they are registered premises; if they comply with the EU falsified medicines directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10573/19]
104. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps taken to address the vacant pharmacist position and premises in Athlone, County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10574/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 to 105, inclusive, together.
A Joint civil/military Standing Committee on Medical Service Delivery was established in 2014 with a view to advancing the development of a sustainable integrated medical service for the Defence Forces, and to address the appropriate means of delivery of key medical capabilities.
An integrated model for the provision of the required medical services, involving both the Medical Corps and outsourced service provision, where appropriate, is currently being progressed. The Standing Committee is reviewing each medical service individually, in order to evaluate and make recommendations regarding the most appropriate means of delivering key medical capabilities to the Defence Forces.
In this regard, a review of the Defence Forces Pharmacy Service is currently nearing completion. The objective of this review is to document and evaluate the current service provided, analyse the current and possible future demand for services and make recommendations regarding the most appropriate means of delivering pharmacy services to the Defence Forces.
No long-term decision will be made regarding the status of the pharmacist position in Athlone, rendered vacant upon the retirement of the incumbent pharmacist in January 2019, or pharmacy premises, pending the outcome of this review.
In the meantime, personnel in three barracks are reporting to civilian pharmacies already contracted by the Defence Forces to provide an out-of-hours pharmacy service. The barracks in question are Custume Barracks, Athlone; Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa, Galway; and Finner Camp, Donegal. As per the terms of their contracts, each civilian pharmacy is located within 2 kilometres of the front gate of the respective barracks.
There has been no change in the terms under which contracted civilian pharmacies are operating. As above, no decision in this regard will be made until the completion of the ongoing pharmacy review.
There are currently two military pharmacists serving at the rank of Commandant. These individuals are paid according to Defence Forces pay scales appropriate to their rank. There are two civilian pharmacists employed at a salary of €66,817 per annum.
The question as to whether or not military pharmacies fall within the definition of 'retail pharmacy', as laid out in the Pharmacy Act 2007, was finally clarified to the Defence Forces in late 2017 by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland's (PSI) Head of Regulation. The next steps are being considered as part of the Review of the Defence Forces Pharmacy Service, which is nearing completion.
It must be stressed that all Defence Forces pharmacists are registered with the PSI and apply the governing rules as laid down by the PSI in relation to their day-to-day dealings with the dispensing of drugs.