Pharmacists urge Government to allow them to provide more services

The IPU says the skills of young pharmacists aren't being fully ultilised

Pharmacists urge Government to allow them to provide more services

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

Pharmacists say they can help ease the burden on primary care providers, if they're allowed broaden the services they provide.

A new survey shows that 96% of the pubic support pharmacists being allowed to prescribe medicines for minor ailments.

It also showed that 86% of the public say that pharmacists provide good value for money.

93% said they would like to see the pharmacy "offering services such as blood pressure or cholesterol testing at the pharmacy for a reasonable cost."

The figures come from a new survey by the Behaviour and Attitudes research company conducted from March 13th to April 5th 2017 from a representative nationwide survey of 1,014 people.

It found that healthcare services provided by community pharmacists are regarded as "very accessible" by 93% of people; represent “good value for money” in the opinion of 86% and pharmacists are regarded as "easy to talk to about healthcare problems or issues" by 78% of the public.

The survey was launched on Saturday at the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) National Pharmacy Conference. 

Young pharmacists

Catriona O'Riordan from the IPU says it's becoming more and more difficult to attract people into the profession. She says pharmacists are qualified to do more work than is currently allowed. 

Speaking at the conference, Ms O'Riordan said "There is evidence that young qualified pharmacists are either not entering community pharmacy or are leaving the profession, with many deciding to pursue careers in other areas.

"The reasons for this are varied but we know that one major off-putting factor is excessive and increasing levels of administration and bureaucracy, coupled with a perception that their professional skills are underutilised in comparison to their colleagues in other countries."

She said that pharmacists have a limited role in Ireland "In the UK the role of the pharmacist extends far beyond the scope allowed in Ireland, with pharmacists allowed to prescribe for minor ailments. 

"Community practice is no longer attractive to young pharmacy graduates, who are frustrated that their knowledge and skills are not properly utilised by a system that fails to recognise them."

She finished by saying "To make the sector more attractive, and professionally rewarding, it is essential that we allow pharmacists to expand their scope of services and ensure that they can practise their chosen profession rather than act as outsourced bureaucrats."