Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pharmacists’ fury at having to turn their patients away

From the Belfast Telegraph:
A Northern Ireland pharmacist last night told how he has had to turn patients away because of a row between chemists and the Government over cash for a vital health care service.

Yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that nearly 500 community pharmacists across the province had withdrawn a service for minor ailments after they claimed that a new “enhanced” version was being hoisted on them by the Department of Health.

Under the former scheme, community pharmacies were able to consult and treat customers with coughs and colds, sore throats, and hayfever, as well as providing medical advice and GP referrals.

However, the Department’s plans to increase the permitted treatment range means that pharmacists themselves will have a price to pay for this service.

With the Government cap on remunerated treatment of minor ailments placed at 1,300, pharmacists who wish to continue treating customers’ coughs and colds beyond this will have to do so without funding.

The Pharmaceutical Contractors Committee (PCC) is leading the battle against the proposed scheme, seeking terms which take into account the views of community pharmacists. ...more

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