Election Day is upon us! It may just be a regular day for the majority of the country, but for Irish community pharmacists it is one that they have been waiting many years for.
Currently, the work of Irish pharmacists is restricted by the healthcare system. The IPU have called for expansion of duties and greater responsibility to be given to Irish pharmacists. By improving the range of services which can be provided by pharmacists, this will alleviate GP’s and hospital staff to be able to deal with more serious patient cases. Thus, allowing for greater efficiency in the Irish healthcare system.
The IPU is committed to working constructively with the Department of Health and the HSE, as well as other healthcare providers and stakeholders, to deliver the highest possible standard of convenient, accessible, cost-effective healthcare for patients, ensuring value for taxpayers and helping to develop a more efficient healthcare system and contribute to a healthier Ireland.
Irish community pharmacists have great hope for this coming Government as the election manifestos of all the main political parties include a commitment to make better use of the skills of community pharmacists for the benefit of patients. In October 2015, the IPU proposed that the role of a community pharmacist includes Extended Vaccine Service, Minor Ailment Scheme, Health Check Service, New Medicines Service, and Reclassification of Medicines.
Extended Vaccine Service
Following on from the successful uptake of the Flu Vaccine after it was allowed to be administered by pharmacists, they will now be able to provide vaccination for shingles and pneumococcal disease too.
Minor Ailment Scheme
This scheme will allow pharmacists to medical card holders free of charge for minor conditions related to athlete’s foot; constipation; dermatitis and mild eczema; diarrhoea; fungal skin or nail infections; migraine, to name a few.
Health Check Service
This service will attempt to diagnose chronic-diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Early detection of chronic illnesses, coupled with early intervention and treatment is a cornerstone of the Government’s Healthy Ireland strategy. A pharmacy-based health check programme would have significant advantages in terms of reach, accessibility and cost-effectiveness.
New Medicines Service
This support service will help people with long-term conditions understand their condition and help them to adjust to taking new medication.
A pilot carried out by the IPU showed that adherence increased from 37% to 77% after the intervention and support of a community pharmacist.
Reclassification of Medicines
The IPU have requested an extension of the medications that are available over the counter. Pharmacists can then use their clinical knowledge to prescribe treatment for minor ailments.
Creating a gateway for people to be able to go to their local pharmacy and ask about their ailment could see a rise in the number of overall patients treated by the healthcare system in a more logically efficient way. As a nation, we have the wrong attitude when it comes to taking our health seriously. Going to the doctor is a burden for many of us, when we know that the problem is minor. This much needed development will hopefully encourage more people to call into their local pharmacy and seek answers.
Make sure you get to your polling station before 10pm tonight, and #UseYourVote.