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Donnelly secures government approval to further expand the role of pharmacists

By aileengreenxie - 06th May 2024

Donnelly

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has received government approval to proceed with the drafting of a further amendment to the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2024. This amendment will make provision in primary legislation for the further expansion of the role of pharmacists, and will lay the groundwork for the introduction of pharmacist prescribing.

Minister Donnelly said: “I am delighted to have secured government approval to add an amendment to the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which will be introduced at Report stage. The amendment will be an important first step in introducing pharmacist prescribing and enhancing the contribution that pharmacists make to our health services.

“I look forward to receiving the final report from the Expert Taskforce on Pharmacy soon. This report and this amendment will provide the fundamentals we need in place to move toward pharmacist prescribing.

“There is work to be done before pharmacists can start prescribing, including the implementation of secondary legislation, regulatory changes, and the development of training pathways for pharmacists. However, I think it is important to be ambitious and recognise the positives that expanding the role of pharmacists will bring for the pharmacy profession, the broader health service, and patients.”

This amendment will now be
referred to the Office of the Attorney General for drafting.

The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2024 is at an advanced stage in the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Minister welcomes the support the Bill has received.

Minister Donnelly added: “It’s clear there is widespread support for my commitment to expand the scope of pharmacy practice in Ireland, and this is an opportunity to progress that further and build upon the recent change facilitating the extension of prescriptions by pharmacists.”

PSI welcome

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the Pharmacy Regulator, has welcomed the announcement of government approval to proceed with the drafting of a further amendment
to the Bill.

This amendment will make provision in primary legislation for the further expansion of the role of pharmacists by providing for the introduction of pharmacist prescribing, it said. The development aligns with the work under way by the Expert Taskforce to support the expansion of the role of pharmacists in Ireland. The first recommendation of the Taskforce, to empower pharmacists to extend the validity of prescriptions from six to 12 months, was implemented on 1 March.

“We welcome the latest announcement by Minister Donnelly, one which demonstrates the commitment to ensuring that pharmacists can make an enhanced contribution to the delivery of health care to the benefit of patients and
the public as part of the integrated health system envisioned under Sláintecare,” said Joanne Kissane, Registrar and Chief Officer of the
PSI.

“This latest development is the first step in a multi-step process, both building on and aligning with the work under way by the Expert Taskforce.

“It represents an important staging point in the context of progressing the current and future recommendations from the Expert Taskforce and is a significant and positive development overall.

“As the regulatory body charged with protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of patients and the public by regulating pharmacists and pharmacies, the PSI’s focus will remain on ensuring the necessary training, education, accreditation, and regulatory supports are in place for the profession on its pathway to realising an enhanced role and scope of practice.”

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