PSI Council behaving like a child

Yesterdays events at the public session of the PSI Council had the Council behaving like a badly behaved child running around with their hands over their ears going “Nah, nah, nah, I can’t hear you!”  We have been waiting for many years now for a statement from the Council on the issue of temporary absence.  They continually fail to engage meaningfully with the Assistants Association.  They will not respond to the Assistants in relation to the senior counsels opinion on the matter, probably because they do not like it.  Sadly for them they do not make the law.  They are not even responsible for interpreting it.  So in the meantime they continue in their attempts to bully employers and assistants into following their “guidelines”.

There was a real hope that a new Registrar from outside the world of pharmacy could bring about some changes but it seems that he too has been sucked in by the quango that is the PSI executive.

The public sessions of the Council are little more than a showpiece event in a hopeless attempt to give the impression of any openness.  In reality the secrecy around this set pieces makes a mockery of openness and accountability.  It is impossible to get a copy of reports from sub-committees or even the minutes of the previous Council meeting.  Members of the public are made to sit in a corner of without a proper view of the room.  They are unwilling even to provide a table to assist in the keeping of notes.  I have no doubt they they would just love it if they could do away with the whole notion of a public session and carry on all of their business behind closed doors away from any accountability.

So to me it was no surprise that matters blew over when they refused to accept any contribution from the floor yesterday.  The Assistants Association have heard nothing back despite numerous phone calls and emails.  As I have experienced many time it has needed a second follow up just to get an acknowledgment of the original.

Just like another organisation the Assistants have not gone away you know.  They will be back for the next Council meeting and the next and the next.  And the PSI will have better get used to that!

2 thoughts on “PSI Council behaving like a child

  1. Very well written. Very well explained. I think the situation that the pharmaceutical Assistants of Ireland have been placed in for the last couple of years is an absolute disgrace. They have been the backbone of community pharmacy.. This I do know ! The council and society need to get their act together and do the right thing !! My message to the council and society …if you want respect and credibility you must earn it !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here is the concluding summary from the PAA Presentation to PSI Council at last Thursday’s meeting.

      Rita O Brien , PAA Chair, Presentation to PSI Council 23/3/17PAA Presentation to PSI Council March 2017
      Please click on above link to view full text of presentation

      Narrowing of the factual parameters pertaining to the practice of PAs by prescriptive measures has the effect of interfering with an established right to practice which attracts constitutional protection as both a personal and property right. Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Guiding Principles on Proportionality apply here. See Notes and PAA Submission. Concept of temp abs has an established meaning since 1890 Act. It is synonymous with not permanent i.e we cannot conduct a business on our own
      accord. It is related to context and depends on the facts of a particular situation. Three factors are relevant
      • intention;
      • length of your absence; and
      • reason for absence.For example, in defining the temporary absence of the Taoiseach, the High Court found that here the phrase “temporary absence of the Taoiseach” was used, should be interpreted as the temporary absence from the ability to perform his duties during illness or incapacity or while incommunicado for an appreciable time
      With regard to interpretation of temporary absence under the 1890 Act, I’m sure you are all aware of the judgement of High Court Judge Costello, where he maintained that t.a could at that time be only defined by a court, on a case by case basis. In the 1980s temporary absence had in practice many variations from days off, holiday cover, maternity cover etc. When we collected our certificates from the PSI office it was pointed out to us that there were notices from pharmacists looking for holiday cover.
      (See handouts of assurances given over the years by T.Ds etc)
      Pharmacists are entitled to be heard as individuals, if they breach Fitness to Practice Regulations and there is a very strict structure around sanctions etc
      You are proposing to introduce a form of blanket definition on the Fitness to Practice of all P.As by stating we are fit to practice for x number of hours but not Fit to Practice again that week and one minute after the allotted time we become criminals. This sanction is based solely on the fact that we hold a qualification, with a legally held term since 1890, the value of which our employability and status depends. We qualified with your formulated and validated programme which incidentally we paid the PSI to undertake. Do you not believe that your certification is sufficiently robust?
      P.As undertook this course in good faith and had a natural expectation to a career pathway and earning capacity. The measures you propose will reduce our employment prospects, our earning capacity and our status within the profession and the wider community.
      The danger in legislating in exact terms, will prove extremely difficult. It does not take into account real life situations. 3 personal examples but all Pas could cite thousands of examples and instances where it
      cannot work.
      Pharmacist whose husband had to be rushed by ambulance at 8am,had a perforated gut and was in intensive care isolation for a few days. I was called to open the pharmacy and continue the business until the crisis was solved. Between myself and the other non supervising pharmacist we provided cover. Another instance was of another person I worked for whose father was dying. I got a call at 9pm to know if I could possibly work to allow that woman to be with her dad while he was dying.
      Another situation was when I worked for one of your predecessors on Council a Fellow of the PSI. I worked for him allowing him to attend meetings and have days off. I got an urgent call to say his son was in an accident would I go straight to the pharmacy. His son had actually drowned.
      What would my position be if you implement these rules and I have used up my time that week? Am I the criminal or is it the Pharmacist?
      Where did you pluck a figure of 12 hours? Could you have chosen the 35 hour recommendation of a full working week as specified legally for employees? Where can you prove the difference between each of these figures in achieving your ultimate aim?
      Ours is not a profession like for example an office job. We cannot tell the patient that we can only dispense 2 items off their prescription and will have to leave the rest because we have used up our allotted time
      Has the PSI considered the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014 section 42 and its obligation to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity? Have you equality proofed and human rights proofed your SI draft?
      Our job is our property and if this proposal leads to the reduction or elimination of our employability we are left at our age with very little prospects.
      The employment agencies have been advised not to handle us due to the uncertainty around “temporary absence” and what role we have within pharmacy.
      Some of the chains have a policy of not employing us or are making life very difficult for those whom they do employ.
      We hope you will carefully consider the content of this presentation. We assure you that we will go to the nth degree to protect our status.
      It is very difficult in a 30 minute presentation to include a lifetime career and the intimidation and low self worth we have been subjected to by the PSI around the conflicting views of our entitlements, almost since we qualified.
      Should you enact this into law it is the demise of our career. Are we left with any other option but to use our considerable funds and support to go before the legal structures?
      Why do you in 2017 after 127 years of service to the industry feel we are now a danger and need to bring in measures to bring about our demise, leaving us with no option but to take this final stand in light of how we have been treated over the years for example
      i) The PSI would not go in to the court in the 80s to have temporary absence defined by a judge.
      ii) The PSI took no action to upgrade our qualification, yet this was not a problem for druggists.
      i) The PSI did nothing to map our qualification to the Educational Framework, resulting in PAs not being able to use their qualification in the educational forum, thus requiring them to start from the beginning any educational or training course. .
      ii) The PSI did not notify all PAs of this proposal.
      iii) The PSI executive have always maintained they are bound by the Code, we disagree and have suggested that under Section 5 it is only bound on legally binding agreements which the Code is not. In 1994, I voted against the proposal but the vast majority of non members had no vote that time either.
      Only pharmacists were balloted nationwide.
      iv) All avenues you have closed. This is more like Feudal Ireland than a modern inclusive society . International best practice in education and under the terms of the Bologna agreement is to lift the glass ceiling and allow progression of all careers. Where are you displaying evidence of this as providers of our course?
      v) The profession of pharmacy is broadly against this proposal. They do express concern that one professional might be responsible for the actions of another but our legal advice has always been that it would be difficult to prove vicarious liability of one professional for another particularly if robust S.O.Ps are in place.
      I plead with you each member of this Council to consider very carefully the decision you make. Produce an overwhelming argument of public safety issues that we can consider.
      As Registrar,President and Council members you will go down in history as a group who brought about the demise of a group of elderly mainly women graduates of your own formulated, validated and examined qualification. We are not seeking anymore than
      the terms we qualified under on the day we qualified.
      I hope I have done some justice to all my fellow colleagues, a fantastic, committed, loyal, dependable ,professional group . What a loss you would all be to the Profession of Pharmacy.


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