Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Department of Health
127. To ask the Minister for Health when contractual negotiations will commence with a union (details supplied) on the reform, modernisation and expansion of pharmacy services; the length of time the negotiations will last; when the resulting changes will be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22138/19]
128. To ask the Minister for Health the date on which he will commence discussions with pharmacy contractors regarding the unwinding of FEMPI for community pharmacists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22139/19]
129. To ask the Minister for Health when pharmacies will be permitted to dispense oral contraception without prescription under plans for free contraception being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22140/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 to 129, inclusive, together.
As the Deputy is aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government contains a commitment to expand the role of community pharmacy in managing patient health, and this is an issue I intend to progress.
Work has been done in recent years on wider healthcare roles for pharmacies, including the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s Future Pharmacy report, concerning expansion of professional pharmacy practice. It is clear from this and other work that there is potential to increase the range of publicly funded health services delivered through community pharmacy. Important new services, in influenza vaccination and emergency contraception, have already been introduced.
To be funded by the taxpayer, new public health services in community pharmacy, as elsewhere, should improve health outcomes and provide value for money and benefits for patients. Any new or transferred services should be based on sound evidence with matching improvements in governance and administration.
I recently met with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) and I attended their conference in Galway and these and other issues were discussed in both forums. It is my intention that further consultation will be carried out in 2019.