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16th May 2016

Some Irish GPs want to be allowed dispense certain medicines

Ellen Tannam

Dr. Yvonne Williams, spokesperson for the National Association Of General Practitioners was speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier this Monday and is calling for GPs to be permitted to dispense certain medicines.

According to Williams, the practice of GPs dispensing certain medicines is common in rural areas where there are currently 108 dispensing GPs.

The drugs Williams is advocating for the right to supply are not complicated prescriptions, rather simple medicines like aspirin or paracetamol.

The point was also made that the deficit in the primary healthcare system could be reduced as the drugs bill would be lesser if GPs were allowed to dispense certain medicines.

The President of the Irish Pharmacy Union disagreed, and said that patient safety could be compromised if such a scheme were put in place.

Darragh O’Loughlin made the point the GPs are already overworked and underresourced so it made no sense to add to their workload when they could just avail of the skills of a pharmacist to give them assistance.

“It would make more sense if we were talking to each other about how to improve the lot of patients and how we improve the healthcare of patients.”