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Harney must intervene in pharmacies dispute – Doherty

5 August, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has called on Health Minister Mary Harney to urgently intervene in the HSE dispute with pharmacies before somebody becomes seriously ill or dies.

Senator Doherty said despite claims to the contrary by the HSE the reality is that the implications of this dispute are hitting patients. He said the HSE’s contingency plan is not catering for patients and a disaster was only avoided in Donegal last night by late night interventions from pharmacists who have diverted from the scheme.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said, “Minister Harney needs to urgently intervene in this dispute before somebody becomes seriously ill or even dies. She must ensure that the HSE enters into direct dialogue with the Irish Pharmacies Union (IPU) to negotiate a deal that will ensure that the delivery of medication is restored throughout the state.

“Despite HSE claims to the contrary this dispute has reached crisis level and is now directly affecting patients. The reality here in Donegal last night was that a number of people were not able to avail of life saving medication from the HSE under their contingency plan and only by late night intervention by pharmacies who have diverted from the scheme was a disaster avoided. There are also countless reports of patients having to pay for medication as they have no means of travelling to pharmacists that are still accepting the medical card.

“Rather than indulging in a high profile, and most likely expensive, media campaign the HSE should sit down with the IPU and negotiate a deal to bring this dispute to an end. The pharmacies have put forward an idea for the saving of €85 million. This is a good starting point for negotiations.” ENDS

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