Patients Misery as Pharmacists Walk off the Job; Delayed Prescriptions: More Than 500 Pharmacists Are Set to Abandon Their Posts Today

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Bruce

THOUSANDS of people will struggletocollecttheirmedication todayas500pharmacistsleave theirpoststo head to crisis talks over the States controversial cost-cutting plan.

Many patients may be forced to wait untiltomorrowformedicine,which will be a particular worry for anyone in need of antibiotics.

The Irish Patients Association was incredulous that no list of pharmacies whichwill be open today could be providedbyeither the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) or the Health Service Executive.

StephenMcMahon,chiefexecutive ofthepatientsgroup,said:Weve asked the HSE to provide and publish a list of pharmacies which will beopen and to take out advertisements for the list in the papers tomorrow, butthey havent been able to.

Weareequallydisappointedthat the pharmacists have chosen a Wednesday for these talks, rather than aSunday, as this will cause maximum inconvenience and distress.

I dont want to scaremonger, but if someone gets sick tomorrow morning and goesto their GP and gets a prescription for antibioticsif they cant findapharmacist,theirinfection couldbemuchworse24hourslater. The situation is even more critical for sick children. Thepharmacistshavewarnedof widespread disruption to services and have urged the public to hold off andpick up prescriptions tomorrow.

TheIPUsaidnopharmacistwould want to put patients at risk and that measureswerebeingputinplaceto ensure medicine would be available in emergencies,butsaidsucharrangements had been left in the hands of individual pharmacists.

Some may post notices on the doors of closed pharmacies, informing peoplewheretheycancollectprescriptions;othersmayoperatealimited service or leave a mobile telephone number in case of emergency. …