Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Questions (269)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

269. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health when the pharmacy-based minor ailment service will be rolled out to provide medical card holders with advice and appropriate treatment for minor ailments without the need to visit a general practitioner, as is commonplace in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38354/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for a Partnership Government contains a commitment to expand the role of community pharmacy in managing patient health, and this is an issue I intend to progress.

Work has been done in recent years on wider healthcare roles for pharmacies, including the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s Future Pharmacy report, concerning expansion of professional pharmacy practice. It is clear from this and other work that there is potential to increase the range of both private and publicly funded health services delivered through community pharmacy. Important new services, in influenza vaccination and emergency contraception, have already been introduced.

To be funded by the taxpayer, new public health services in community pharmacy, as elsewhere, should improve health outcomes and provide value for money and benefits for patients. Any new or transferred services should be based on sound evidence, with matching improvements in governance and administration.

I met with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) earlier this year and I attended their conference in Galway and these and other issues were discussed in both forums. It is my intention that there will be further consultation with the IPU before the end of the year.