Pharmacists passed a vote of no confidence in the Government’s health policies at their annual conference today.
Representatives of the 1,900 pharmacists in the State passed the motion at the AGM in Waterford.
President of the Irish Pharmacy Union Liz Hoctor said afterwards the government’s health policies had “manifestly” failed and she urged a fundamental review of health strategy.
She said proposals put forward to government on how savings on the medicines bill could be achieved had fallen on deaf ears.
Pharmacists, said Ms Hoctor, were now fearing a wave of cuts being imposed on the sector by the government that could lead to up to 5,000 job losses across the country and increased problems for patients trying to get access to medicines.
She said the IPU was and always has been willing to work in partnership with government to achieve savings on the medicines bill, despite the fact the Health Service Executive had abandoned a partnership approach in recent years.
She added: “Even when the courts ruled that the HSE had acted unlawfully in reducing pharmacists’ payments, we continued to seek opportunities to work with government and demonstrated that pharmacists can be part of the solution to rising healthcare costs and not part of the problem.
We made submissions to the Department of Health and Children outlining how savings could be achieved through the greater use of generics and reducing the enormous waste of medicines.
“So far out proposals have fallen on deaf ears.”
The AGM also passed a motion calling on all members of the Oireachtas to repeal Section 9 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 to protect patient care, to preserve frontline pharmacy services and maintain jobs.