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.