Chaos still the order of the day for chemists

Pharmacists have grounds for taking a breach of contract case against the government as it misses another deadline in its programme to change the process around prescriptions, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Maryan Street.

“Today was meant to be the day when community pharmacies would start being paid new rates for prescriptions, but the Government IT system has failed to manage the proposed changes, pushing the start date out to 1 March.

“Pharmacists are paid for each prescription they dispense. Uncertainty around rates means many local pharmacies will be questioning whether they can stay afloat.

“Getting prescriptions filled is a fundamental health service.  If pharmacists are left in the dark, then their communities are too.

“Pharmacists were forced to sign-up to the contract last year without knowing what they were going to be paid for prescriptions after 1 February.

“Many still don’t know what they are likely to be paid for looking after people with long term conditions, or even what the core service fee is likely to be.

“The Government has been unable to meet any of the deadlines specified in the contract so far. It is a complete debacle.

“A nation-wide IT system should have been developed and tested before new charges and payments applied.

“Tony Ryall needs to stop this chaotic contract in its tracks before it becomes the Novopay of the health sector,” Maryan Street said.