Irish pharmacists could, and want to, provide an enhanced service to the public, similar to their UK counterparts.
Patients in England and Scotland can now get some prescription medicines and oral contraception directly from their pharmacist, without the need to see a doctor first.
This frees up appointments being sought by patients for GPs.
Dr Barra Nevin is a pharmacist in Galway city and is member of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), he says this country lags behind the services that pharmacists can provide north of the border and in the UK generally.
The IPU is in negotiations with the Irish government for some time now on a number of issues that could enhance the services of pharmacists here. These include a Minor Ailment Scheme that would allow medical card patients access some medicines free at a pharmacy without the need to get a doctor’s prescription and it is also trying to ensure the supply of many popular medicines, under the Medical Shortage Protocol.
Dr Nevin has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about the advantages for patients and for the primary health care services generally if these schemes were rolled out...