Thursday, 10 February 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
114. Mr. Crawford asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the concerns of pharmacists regarding a number of issues including the fact that a growing number of unstable methadone patients are presenting in community pharmacy for treatment when only stable patients are deemed appropriate for the community pharmacy setting. [4269/05]
Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The Health Act 2004 provided for the Health Service Executive, HSE, which was established on 1 January 2005. Under the Act, the executive has the responsibility to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. This includes responsibility for the delivery of drug treatment services.
Under the methadone scheme, there is a system in place where clients are assessed by a GP co-ordinator and liaison pharmacist to ensure that clients referred to a community setting are appropriate to such a setting. In addition, where a pharmacist experiences difficulties with a particular client, a guarantee is in place that the client will be reassigned if the pharmacist so wishes.
Last year the Irish Pharmaceutical Union, IPU, raised with the Department of Health and Children some concerns about the suitability of patients being placed in community settings. Arising from discussions between officials from the Department and representatives of the IPU, a notification system is being developed to monitor any difficulties experienced by pharmacists within the methadone scheme and to ensure that appropriate systems are in place to respond to any such difficulties.
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