Rev Up for DSI 2011

Over the May Bank Holiday week-end I will be taking part in a charity motor-cycle ride in aid of DSI. Details can be found here.
My aim to raise at least €1,000 for DSI and I am asking you for any support that you can give me. Donations can be made directly to myself in the pharmacy.

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Party Policies for Community Pharmacy

As per previous posts I have been trying to find out anything I can about the policies of the various parties in relation to community pharmacy. As far as Fianna Fáil is concerned all I have succeeded in doing is getting one of my email addresses on their spam list. I have been getting a steady stream if spam from wannabe TD’s, Taoiseach, Fuhrers and other low life telling how they are going to save the world. It’s a pity that they didn’t do anything to save it when they were in power for the last 15 years. Much as I dislike the Shinners it would be nice to see them beat FF into 4th place.

The Greens to their credit have got back to me.

“………we thought these points would be of interest to pharmacy:
Prioritise health prevention and promotion programmes by increasing their proportion of the overall health budget in an effort to encourage a healthier population and maximise existing resources.
There would be a role for community Pharmacy here, given that you are an existing resource which is extremely accessible.
When services are moved from hospitals to the community the money and resources must move with the services.
We also see community pharmacy as an integral part of the primary care team, and will support it as such.
Ensure that the most cost effective medications are used (including “generic drugs”).
This was one that there was a lot of debate about. Pharmacists will be pivotal in this, ……
We are also opposed to direct marketing of medications.”

These aspirations are fine but given that the Greens are likely to be fighting for survival rather than any position of power they will remain aspirations.

As for Fine Gael their plan is to have about 700 “one stop shops” that will include all G.P.’s from the area, physio’s, dentists, MRI facilities and other diagnostic procedures available. There will be multi-disciplinary meetings each week with “all members” of the practice included at these meetings. The money will follow the patient so the more patients a practice sees, the more money it will receive. I also believe that FG see these “one stop shops” each having a pharmacy. They do not seem to have thought what will happen to the other 1,500 or so community pharmacies in the country. Not to mention all the dental practices that are being destroyed by the cuts in PSRI dental benefit. It also begs the question who will own these centres?
At the moment it would appear that most are owned by the GP’s who operate from them. Worryingly most of them have as part of their business plan that the cost of the centre is supported by the rent that the contractor/community pharmacy pays. We see every day in the media about small businesses being crippled by high rent and inequitable leases and now it would seem that FG would like to add to it. Never mind if they keep on this path most of the remainder of community pharmacies will be closed and the voters that they employ will be jobless on the street. There is also the ethical question of doctors having a financial interest in the operation of a pharmacy that dispenses mostly their own prescriptions. I wonder if the awe inspiring, god fearing pharmacy regulator would have to say about that. I’ll get my ear plugs ready for the deafening silence.

The 10:23 campaign.

I don’t know if you have heard of the 10:23 campaign. It seeks to expose the scam that is homoeopathic “medicine”. As part of these they staged homoeopathic “overdoses” in several cities across the world.

This youtube clip is part of this. Some one is making a lot of money from Woo Woo.

Dr Paul Willis paid about $30 for this sleep aid at a time when the HSE pays pharmacists €3.50 per item.

February’s IP, now that I’ve had a quick read.

I have just had a quick read of this months IP. I note that Fianna Fáil, the Shinners and the Greens all replied to the IP when the enquired about policy in relation to pharmacy. It would have been nice if they replied to me with the same speed. (Greens excepted.)
The last part of Fintan’s article about “efficiency” in the HSE is well worth the read.

February’s Article in IP

Here it is. It was given the title of “Tears for Harney” by the new editor Mary O’Keeffe. I wish her all the best. Suck, suck!

Just a little further to the position of the parties. Labour have still not gotten back to me despite their email. I think that they might be a bit busy for now.
Fine Gael contacted me last Thursday with the following

Dear David

Fine Gael recognises that pharmacists are working to improve community health services and preventive health services. Fine Gael believes that the greater use of community pharmacy in delivering care and treatment will give patients more choice, more access and will give Ireland a more efficient health care system. Fine Gael will seek to develop new pharmacy services such as medicine use reviews and where appropriate, screening and vaccination programmes.

Kind regards

Fine Gael Campaign Team 2011

At least they replied.

The Greens came up trumps in a manner of speaking. Their candidate for Dublin South, Oisín Ó hAlmhain is a pharmacist. He called into the pharmacy and we had a great chat about the current situation. They have a policy for small businesses and he was fairly sure that there was one for pharmacy as he remembered having prepared one at some stage(!). As we parted as a pharmacist I wished him well in the election because as a Green he would need it.

A different way to look at healthcare

I picked this up on my web travels. It illustrates to me that most changes in healthcare currently are based on saving money. Nothing wrong with that. But savings will only be made by looking at the way we do it at present and making fundamental changes. It will not be enough to just cut a few euros here and there on the price government, HSE and increasingly insurers pay for procedures or services. The old way of doing things will only compound the old problems.

All we have to do now is to change the civil service way of thinking. Answers on a post card please!