Update 5.55pm: The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) says the Irish Pharmacy Union's contraceptive proposal is flawed.
The NAGP is calling for a comprehensive and holistic approach to the prescribing and dispensing of contraceptives.
"The NAGP are appealing for more integration of health care in Ireland," said Dr Maitiu O Tuathail, President of the NAGP.
"We should strive for primary care that is patient-centred, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety of our population. This IPU proposal will lead to the further disintegration of our health service and that is neither good for the patient nor the health service as a whole."
Prescribing and administration of ‘medical procedures’, vaccines, etc. should be co-ordinated and managed centrally in a primary care setting, the NAGP argues.
"The provision of contraceptive services encompasses far more than just prescribing the pill. The patients sexual health, sexually transmitted infections, education, and the patients own physical and mental health are addressed," said Dr O’Tuathail.
"As the patients primary care provider General Practitioners are best placed to provide this service, both now and into the future. Continuity of care remains of paramount importance to us as GPs."
Update 8.01am: Pharmacists are pushing to provide a free contraception service to women in chemists around the country which will be funded by the State.
According to the Irish Times, the pill, patches and rings would be made available free and without a prescription.
It is believed GPs will strongly resist the plans.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) proposal made to the Department of Health stipulates that pharmacists would have to get extra training along international guidelines to be able to supply free hormonal contraceptives to women.
The IPU also proposes that girls under the age of 17 would not be allowed access to the scheme but women would not be required to have previously been prescribed a contraceptive.
The IPU said: “Given the professional input and the time involved in providing the service, consultation fees in line with those already paid for the EHC consultation to GMS patients (currently €11.50 plus ingredient cost and standard dispensing fee) would be appropriate.”
- Digital Desk