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Sinn Féin welcome Health Minister’s commitment to revisit Minor Ailments Scheme

3 November, 2008 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin welcome Health Minister's commitment to revisit Minor Ailments Scheme

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA and Deputy Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Michele O'Neill has welcomed the fact that the Minister of Health, Michael McGimpsey, has stated that he will revisit the Minor Ailments Scheme. However Ms O'Neill stated that this should be a priority for the Minister.

Speaking today Ms O Neill said:

"I welcome the fact that the Minister for Health Michael McGimpsey has stated to the Health Committee that he will revisit the minor ailments scheme. Sinn Féin had long pressed for the re-establishment of this scheme. Michael McGimpsey must however make the re-establishment of this vital scheme a priority.

"The minor ailment scheme ran from 2005 and involved pharmacists dispensing medication for ailments such as colds or flu's. However the scheme has seen 97% of pharmacists withdraw from it over disagreements with the Department of Health.

"It is a scheme that had a high uptake in across the board and had a significantly lower financial cost than the system currently in place savind the department of Health £8million. On top of this it was also particularly successful in delivery in areas of high social deprivation tackling needs in these areas.

"As such this benefits of this scheme cannot be brushed away lightly. Michael McGimpsey must endeavour to resolve the current difficulties between the department of health and those who discharge the scheme, namely the pharmacists in our streets and shopping centres." ENDS

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