Pharmacists Say GPs Will Struggle To Cope With Demands Of Under 6s Scheme

85 per cent of pharmacists believe GPs will either not be able to cope with the extra demands of free GP care for under 6s, or will only manage to do so with difficulty.

A new survey of pharmacists has revealed 24 per cent of pharmacists do not believe GPs can cope with the extra workload that will come about as a result of the introduction of the scheme, while 59 per cent say GPs will only be able to cope with the demands with difficulty.

The revelation comes as it emerges more than 100,000 children across the country have been registered for the scheme.

The pharmacy survey was undertaken by healthcare software provider, Helix Health ahead of the 2015 Helix Health Pharmacist Awards. Now in their tenth year, the Awards aim to celebrate pharmacy and raise awareness of the outstanding work being undertaken by pharmacists working in the professional network of 1,800 pharmacies nationwide.

Commenting on the findings, Dublin pharmacist and Chair of the Helix Health Pharmacist Awards Committee, Fintan Moore said, “GPs are already struggling to cope with their existing workloads and many will find it difficult to cope with the extra demands of the free GP care scheme. Pharmacists could be doing much more, which would both ease the workload on GPs and improve patient care and accessibility to services. 

 “We should be delivering a minor ailments scheme, a new medicines scheme, chronic illness management, further health screening initiatives and expanding the existing vaccination service to include travel vaccinations as is the case with pharmacists in other countries.  We are ready and able to do more.  It’s time for the Minister to work with us to expand our professional role for patient care in our communities”

The survey also revealed that more than 90 per cent of pharmacists believe they should get enhanced roles at primary care level. “Pharmacists have demonstrated their abilities to take on enhanced roles, as seen with the roll out of the flu vaccination service, and we would urge the Government to realise pharmacists potential and allow us to further improve the health and wellbeing of the Irish people,” said Mr Moore.

He added, “Last year pharmacists delivered more than 50,000 flu vaccinations, a figure that is rising every year. We are willing and able to expand this service and to deliver more vaccines.

 “One of our previous award winners, Mr Dermot Twomey, has a very successful anticoagulant clinic in his pharmacy. This means his patients, many of whom are elderly, do not have to make the 70km round trip to clinic in Cork University Hospital up to twice a week in some cases.  There are many more pharmacists out there like Mr Twomey who are providing enhanced services to their patients and who want to do more for our communities.”

 Nominations for this year’s Helix Health Pharmacist Awards are now being accepted in eight different categories including the coveted Patient Nominated Award, which is bestowed on the pharmacist whose professional conduct was deemed most remarkable and noteworthy. Members of the public can nominate their local pharmacist for the Patient Nominated Award by logging on to Pharmacists can also nominate colleagues working in community, hospital and industry settings at the same address.

The closing date for nominations for the Awards is Friday, July 31, 2015.

The 2015 Helix Health Pharmacist Awards will take place at the Mansion House, Dublin on Saturday, November 21, 2015.


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