Expanding the role of pharmacists would be of huge benefit to people who find it hard to access GP services, a Fine Gael TD said.
Deputy Alan Dillon said that the challenges being faced by many individuals and families in accessing GP services are well-documented and are proving to be a barrier to accessing medication and care.
“The shortage of GPs, particularly in rural areas like my own, exacerbates this issue,” Deputy Dillon said, adding: “Allowing pharmacists to prescribe certain types of medication would be of huge benefit to patients, as well as GPs, many of whom are at full capacity in their practices and struggling to see patients in a timely fashion.
“In Northern Ireland, pharmacists have the dual responsibility of advising, supplying, and prescribing medication. Although Irish pharmacies do not currently possess independent prescribing rights, we should establish collaborative arrangements between GPs and pharmacists,” said Deputy Dillon.
“Such an arrangement would enable pharmacists to prescribe certain medications or make adjustments to existing prescriptions within agreed protocols. This approach would streamline the prescribing process, reduce the necessity for routine GP appointments related to medication management and offer individuals and families more choices.
“I understand that there have been pilot schemes rolled out to try this around the country. I am calling for a comprehensive review of the legislation governing the role of the pharmacist to be undertaken so we can expand their scope of practice.
“Community pharmacists already play a hugely important role in supporting patient care; providing advice on dosing, potential side effects, administration and stabilising conditions. By being able to prescribe certain medications, they can further treat the patient, providing greater access to expertise, while easing the burden of responsibility on our GPs.”