Mrs Cameron said,
“According to statistics from Community Pharmacy NI, around 37,000 patients in Northern Ireland currently receive the valuable service of weekly medicine dose trays. Due to the increasing workload, financial and staffing pressures on the sector a large majority of pharmacy owners have recently voted to no longer provide the Monitored Dosage System and similar compliance aids to new patients beyond 1st December 2021.
The service has been underfunded and over stretched to the point that many new patients may be unable to access it until a settlement can be found with the Department. The knock-on effect this will have on other areas of our health system is deeply concerning and our Emergency Departments cannot afford to be dealing with avoidable admissions due to incorrect medicine usage.
Our Community Pharmacy Sector and patients who rely on this service deserve to have it properly commissioned and appropriately funded by the Department of Health.
We cannot allow this situation to drag on without resolution. New patients, particularly many vulnerable individuals, coming onto the system will require this support to better manage their medicines at home.
I urge the Health Minister to ensure ongoing engagement with the Community Pharmacy sector is expedited and a fair arrangement is made to create long-term sustainability of this service.”