Pharmacists' union warns of slow progress with HSE

Pharmacists' union warns of slow progress with HSE

Progress between in dealing with outstanding issues since pharmacists continue dispensing medicines on the community drugs schemes from May 1 has been slow, according to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU).

Delegates attending the agm of the IPU, which takes place this Sunday in Enfield, Co Meath will hear that the issues at the heart of this dispute are far from resolved.

Almost 1,000 pharmacists had informed the HSE that they would or might suspend their participation in the community drugs schemes from May 1, as the HSE reduced payments to pharmacists without agreement and breached their contracts.

The IPU claims that as part of an agreement with the HSE reached on April 30, a commitment was given by the HSE to finalise a number of longstanding issues by the end of May, including pay increases that were due to pharmacists under the National Pay Agreements and issues surrounding the implementation of the Over 70s Agreement.

A motion will be now put forward at the agm condemning the HSE for their 'deliberate and unilateral changes to contracts and for their inability to work with stakeholders in bringing about change'.

"Unilateral action by the HSE is totally unacceptable to pharmacists and it will be resisted by them," the union said in a statement.

The agm will also call on the new Government to immediately review the management of the HSE to ensure that there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability.

The meeting will also hear calls from pharmacists for the Minister for Health to amend legislation to enable pharmacists to provide cheaper generic medicines, and for the HSE to introduce initiatives to reduce the wastage of medicines to save costs.

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