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With the pharmacist’s job becoming increasingly admin-heavy, Fintan Moore wonders if this opens up new possibilities for people with standing or movement issues

There was a time in pharmacy where the work required staff to be on their feet and moving pretty much all day, every day.  However, a colleague’s recent experience made me realise that the level of paperwork and administration has reached the point where mobility isn’t always essential. One of his staff was struggling with a hip problem causing discomfort and pain when she was moving around, so she was assigned to just sit at the office PC and work while sitting. The interesting thing was that she never ran out of work to do — she was printing Healthmails and scanning them to patients’ files, printing off prescription labels for other staff to then assemble items, taking phone calls from people ordering prescriptions, sending queries to doctors, reporting issues to wholesalers, etc. This experience made me realise just how admin-based the job has become, and how it could be very useful for a pharmacy to be set up to accommodate a wheelchair-using staff member.

Obviously, not every pharmacy would have the space, and even for places that do have the room, it could be logistically difficult or prohibitively costly to retrofit the premises accordingly. However, for anyone starting from scratch with a decent bit of room in the dispensary/ back office, then it would be worth at least considering making it wheelchair-friendly. Even when the day-to-day work of processing prescriptions is under control, there is a never-ending conveyor belt of regulatory, accounting and compliance tasks to be done, ranging from the Daily Audit Trail to the monthly PCRS claims verification and the annual High Tech stocktake. It’s worth bearing in mind that the average Irish pharmacy could have one employee dedicated full-time to all the various tasks that can be done while static at a desk. Whatever about wheelchair users, a leg injury from skiing or football may no longer leave a pharmacist automatically out of work.

Whatever about wheelchair users, a leg injury from skiing or football may no longer leave a pharmacist automatically out of work

Homeopathic Apology

Over the years I have occasionally made somewhat disparaging comments about the use of homeopathy, and how I find it inappropriate that pharmacists are sometimes involved in the promotion and sale of these products. Perhaps I should be more tolerant of the actions of these pharmacists, and accepting of the remote possibility that rather than being complete snake oil, there might be a smidgen of benefit to be derived from using homeopathic remedies, regardless of the absence of any scientific support for them. After all, if King Charles believes in homeopathy, then who am I to quibble? So I’ve decided to issue a suitable apology for my past remarks.

Given the nature of my actions, I decided that only a strongly-worded statement of remorse would be suitable, so I had some thinking to do. I eventually wrote the best and most perfectly expressed page of regret that I could manage with my limited and inadequate talent. Then I shredded it in a cross-cut shredder, which rendered the page into hundreds of tiny pieces. After shaking the pieces, I randomly picked one and stuck it to a fresh A4 page. Then I shredded that page, and picked another freshly-cut piece, stuck it to a new page, and ran that through the shredder. After repeating this process a number of times, I felt that I was left with the strongest homeopathy-appropriate apology, which I can reveal now to be “.”.  I feel better already.

Taking the Mick

Our MEP Mick Wallace has probably been running out of friends faster than he’s been making them over the last while.  Personally, I always found his ‘man of the people’ shtick a bit hard to square with his property developing past, so I was never a fan. His supposedly left-wing beliefs also seem at odds with his support for the kleptocratic and brutal Putin regime. But his recent antics in which he cosied-up with wine-loving Italian far-right politicians has seriously disgruntled his left-wing allies in the European parliament, leaving him with a bit of explaining to do.

A lot of attention has focused on the description of him by one of the Italians as an owner of a vineyard, which doesn’t appear on his register of interests, but it would explain his objection to the EU proposal to put warnings on wine bottles to the effect that wine can cause cancer. There has been less comment about the second half of what he was recorded saying. The full quote is: “I don’t agree with putting the label on the wine saying that wine causes cancer — I mean, we should start with all the soft drinks that are pure poison.” So I find myself in the position of being neutral on the wine warnings, with no strong feelings either way, but agreeing completely with Wallace on the soft drinks, but I think we’ll be waiting a while before we see the EU taking any serious action on those. And it could also be a while before I find something else to agree with Wallace on. ●

Fintan Moore graduated as a pharmacist in 1990 from TCD and currently runs a pharmacy in Clondalkin. His email address is: