Following persistent and widespread pressure on the workforce, community pharmacists overwhelmingly voted to stop providing drugs in compliance aids such as drug trays for new patients to from 1st December 2021.
At a meeting of contract dispensing pharmacists last week, 97% voted to shut down the medication adherence service to new patients from early next month. Faced with increasing pressures and without the proper investment, community pharmacists have serious concerns about their ability to continue to provide this unsolicited service, which is provided largely on a goodwill basis.
The service involves community pharmacists who support patients in the community in the management of their medications, and involves in-depth consultation with the pharmacist, continuous monitoring, the supply of medications in a specialized container and regular and continuous collaboration between a patient, family and pharmacist.
Community pharmacists have continually warned that with continued pressures on the workforce and growing staff shortages, they will reach a point where they will no longer be able to accept new patients if they have to ensure the safe delivery of services. basic orders, including the distribution of drugs and Covid. -19 vaccination and booster services.
Community Pharmacy NI Managing Director Gerard Greene said:
“Due to mounting pressures, community pharmacists must prioritize basic services and the entrepreneur vote to stop providing new patients requiring unsolicited compliance support services was not taken lightly. . We are now in a position that no community pharmacist wants to be in, but continuing to accept new patients while managing an already demanding workload, coupled with severe labor shortages, would endanger both patient safety and the pharmacy services ordered.
“Community pharmacists are an essential part of the delivery of the adherence service, using their clinical skills at the community level to help patients manage their medications safely. They want to continue supporting their patients, but only through a service commissioned and appropriately funded by the Board of Health and Welfare. “
Community pharmacist Peter Rice said:
“As essential primary health care providers, I am deeply concerned that we have come to this point, but my staff are under tremendous strain and we cannot continue to welcome new patients for the service without the appropriate resources to do so. ‘support.
“As part of this service, we help patients, often elderly people, safely manage their medications at home and in the community, reducing the need to transfer patients to other settings such as hospitals. There is concern that by not bringing this service up and running, there could be additional and preventable hospital pressures.
“We are continually approached by new patients and their families who want the medication adherence service, and as healthcare providers we want to help. Without the support of the Ministry to do this, we must protect basic services until a solution can be found. “