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Harney trying to dodge accountability on pharmacy crisis – Ó Caoláin

20 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney to accept her responsibility and make herself accountable to the Dáil on the impending crisis in the supply of medicines to Medical Card and Drugs Payment Scheme patients.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The HSE, on the direction of the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney, is to go ahead with its imposition of a new contract for community pharmacists from 1st March. This will pour petrol on the flames of the prolonged dispute between the HSE and the Irish Pharmaceutical Union. If the imposition goes ahead and the IPU withdraws from the Medical Card and Drugs Payment schemes, tens of thousands of patients will be affected.

"The Minister for Health & Children is trying to dodge her accountability on this crisis. She has refused the all-party request of the Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children to attend a special meeting on the pharmacy crisis before the 1st March deadline. She should immediately comply with that request. She should also come into the Dáil immediately to answer questions on the issue.

"The Minister should immediately require the HSE to defer its 1st March deadline for the imposition of a new contract for pharmacists. She should facilitate direct HSE/IPU dialogue on a new contract, including the cost elements, to ensure a full and uninterrupted service for all patients and to promote value for money for the health services in drugs purchases." ENDS

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