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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Vol. 87 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Provision of Medicines for Dispensaries.

asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state whether he is aware that dispensary doctors are not permitted, under the Medical Charities Acts, to procure certain medicines of established repute for use in the treatment of patients; and if he will state what provision, if any, exists for the provision of such remedies.

Under the Local Authorities (Combined Purchasing) Act, 1925, contractors for medicines are appointed annually for the supply of medicines set out in a prescribed list. This list is regularly revised and it may be taken that it includes all medicines and drugs which have been found by experience to be normally required to meet the needs of dispensary medical officers in their professional attendance on the sick poor. It would, however, be incorrect to assume that medical officers are not permitted to order and obtain items which are not on the prescribed list. In the event of a medical officer requiring to be supplied with any article not on the prescribed list, he may submit to the local authority a special requisition stating the circumstances which are considered to render such article necessary and the reason why none of the items on the prescribed list is suitable to his requirements. Such requisitions are submitted by the local authorities to the Department for approval and it is the practice of the Department to consider them sympathetically. In fact, the only cases where sanction is refused are those where preparations of analogous therapeutic effect are available on the prescribed list at a considerably lower price or, in the case of preparations for specialised treatment of patients, where such treatment is considered to be such as might more properly be undertaken by hospitals.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say definitely that in no case in the City of Dublin has a patient been sent back from a dispensary to the out-patients' departments of city hospitals, having been informed that the drug, or medicine, which ordinarily should have been got at the dispensary was not available there?

I cannot say that patients have not been sent from dispensaries to out-patients' departments under circumstances such as the Deputy has described. I have no knowledge that such has occurred, but I can very definitely say that, if the medical officer of the dispensary district in question were properly discharging his duties, there would be no need whatever to send any of these dispensary patients from the dispensary to the extern departments of city hospitals for treatment.