Survey: GPs will struggle with demands of under 6s scheme

A survey of pharmacists reveals that they think GPs will not be able to cope with the extra demands of free GP care for under 6s.

Survey: GPs will struggle with demands of under 6s scheme

A survey of pharmacists reveals that they think GPs will not be able to cope with the extra demands of free GP care for under 6s.

The survey shows 24% 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% say GPs will only be able to cope with the demands with difficulty.

It 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.

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% of pharmacists believe they should get enhanced roles at primary care level.

Mr Moore said: "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.

"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."

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