Time for New Balls

We are used to fighting our battles with the PSI, the PCRS and the HSE.  But if what I hear today is true we can now add the IPU to the list.  Just like the Grand Old Duke of York they have marched their men to the top of the hill and now they are marching down again.

Reports suggest that the PCRS have threatened to stop collecting the IPUs GMS levy from 1st January next if the IPU does not agree to re-engage in the Pharmacy Interface Project.  And what’s the reaction?  The IPU rolls over and plays dead faster than a politician after a free lunch.

We all knew that it was going to be messy when we pulled out but to surrender without a shot being fired makes me wonder what sort of people we have in Butterfield House.  In my view decisions like this should be taken by the membership as a whole.  Surely the IPU could put some other method of collecting the levy in place.

We put the first chip down when we withdrew from the project.  The PCRS has now just upped the ante.  They want this badly and I don’t think that we should give it to them on the cheap.  If we give up on this we can forget of having any real negotiations  with the PCRS EVER again. They will know that we have cojones for a fight and just implement whatever diktat they like.

I think maybe the Officers and the Executive should ask themselves “did we get this wrong?” or “maybe the members might want something different.”  It’s time for them to come out and state publicly to the members did they agree to roll over and face their wrath.  And if they think that members aren’t angry over this then it is time for them to step down.


Press Statement By PAA

Rules approved by the pharmacy regulator today will result in some pharmacies having to close on Saturdays. Thursday 20 September 2018
Today the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland Council approved rules that will restrict the work practices of pharmaceutical assistants. If the new rules are signed into law by the Minister for Health, pharmaceutical assistants will no longer be able to provide professional cover for pharmacists’ day off. “It is not possible to get locum cover so if the pharmaceutical assistant can’t cover I may have to remain closed some Saturdays…It’s fairly disastrous for pharmacy in Ireland”, a pharmacist explains in research carried out to assess the impact of the rules on pharmacy services.
The report, Human Rights and Equality Impact Assessment of the Proposed Draft Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules, published today, points to a reduction in the availability of pharmacy services, with 76 per cent of pharmacist respondents reporting that the implementation of the PSI Rules will make it difficult to maintain the current services.
The impact will be greatest in rural areas, as reported by this pharmacist: “My qualified assistant has worked with us for 26 years and has always been highly professional in her work keeping up with developments. She is extremely capable. We have great difficulty in obtaining pharmacist relief, as the younger pharmacist prefers an urban workplace. If my workload increased I would strongly have to consider putting my pharmacy up for sale or failing that closing which would impact on the local community especially as our local GP has recently retired and his practice is looked after by a GP practice in the nearest town which is over 20Km away”
In addition, 248 pharmaceutical assistants will be deprived of their right to earn a livelihood, having worked in pharmacies dispensing medication for customers for over 35 years. Pharmaceutical assistants like Sarah explain how “I will be out of a job. I am only 60 and state pension only available at 67…I have two children in college…it will be a financial disaster…I need my work and my money “, Marie spoke of how “I still have a mortgage so am worried about keeping my family home as I am a widow with a disabled adult living with me”.For more information contact Deirdre Lynch, secretary of the Pharmaceutical Assistants Association (PAA) on 087 4103599.
The full report is available on the PAA website www.regpharmassist.ie; the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) website www.ipu.ie, the National Women’s Council of Ireland website www.nwci.ie

PCRS Restrict Access By Claims Checker

The HSE has requested that Axium temporarily suspend access to the Primary Care Reimbursement Service claims analysis module of iGnite.  I understand that a similar move has been made in relation to McLernons claims checking system.  Call me an old fashioned conspiracy theorist but first we have the PCRS stop sending out paper copies of the claims and now they are restricting access by claims checking software.
It’s almost as if they didn’t want us to check that they are paying us properly.  (Which they don’t in the first place.)
And then again this might be all one big coincidence.

Savings on Biosimilars

The NHS is starting to achieve significant savings by switching to biosimilars. https://improvement.nhs.uk/news-alerts/nhs-saves-324-million-year-switching-better-value-medicines/
Meanwhile we are knocking a few cent of the reference price of generic drugs in the hope that it will somehow generate millions in savings with no impact on continuity of supply.

If I didn’t know better I would say that the Dept of Health and the Government are frightened of Big Pharma.

Proposes Code of Conduct.

In a move worthy of Sir Humphrey the PSI announces not one, not two but three public consultations over the summer period.  Probably hoping that nobody would notice.

Here is a copy of my submission in relation the the Proposed Code of Conduct.

I wish to make the following comments in relation to the proposed code of conduct.

1. Always put the patient first.

Does this direction include the situation whereby the pharmacist may be making a (significant) financial loss by supplying a prescription. Many pharmacists are also company directors and as such have a fiduciary duty not to trade recklessly. Employee pharmacists have a duty similar to their employers. This would happen primarily with prescriptions paid by government schemes as private patients could just be asked to pay and then it is their decision if they wish to pay the extra. This gives rise to a clash of interests between the welfare of the patient and the viability of the pharmacy.

“3. Must recognise and respect patients’ values, diversity, beliefs and cultural identity and make sure they are treated fairly.

5. Must respect the right of the patient to refuse treatment or services”

Patients must also recognise and respect the pharmacists’ values, diversity and beliefs and respect the pharmacists’ right to refuse treatment or services. This should be qualified with a duty on the pharmacist to refer the patient to another pharmacist where they may receive the treatment or service.

Be Professional

” at all times, both inside and outside your work environment, ”

“2. Should look after your own health and well-being.”

Does this imply that pharmacists who choose to smoke tobacco, drink more alcohol than recommended, are obese and decline to diet, do not partake in the recommended amount of exercise per week, engage in risky sexual behaviour or partake in recreational drugs in jurisdictions where it is legal would be considered to be in breach of the code of conduct?

What if a pharmacist should decline medical treatment even if it would shorten their lifespan? Do we give up free will when we become pharmacists?

Pharmacists’ behaviour outside of the work environment is their own private business. When pharmacists hold themselves up as health professionals in their work environment then they should be subject to higher standards. When they are private individuals they are just that, Private!

“6. Should use social media and other forms of electronic communication appropriately and responsibly, both professionally and personally”

I repeat When pharmacists hold themselves up as health professionals in their work environment then they should be subject to higher standards. When they are private individuals they are just that, Private!

Demonstrate Leadership

“10. Should facilitate student learning to help them develop their professional knowledge, competence and confidence.”

Should indicates a strong recommendation. There must be no obligation to take part in any training of students or interns. It must be voluntary. Also it should be properly recompensed. A student would not go to college expecting free tuition. A lecturer working in a college would not expect to work for free. This should not be in the code of conduct rather it would be more appropriate to a contract of employment.

Maintain Competence

“1. Must comply with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.”

It follows that CPD requirements must be reasonable and rational.