Gardiner fights for pharmacists

SAM Gardiner MLA has won some ground for community pharmacists from Health Minister Edwin Poots.

In a debate on the Minister’s statement Mr Gardiner suggested that community pharmacists should be separately funded for any community activities they undertook, as distinct from their funding as pharmacies.

Replying, the Minister said: “The Member is quite right. In the negotiations that take place on the future of pharmacies, it is absolutely critical that we identify the community services that pharmacists can provide so that they can bring a skill set to the community in healthcare that can help us to implement ‘Transforming Your Care’.

“I am very keen to provide them with fair reimbursement for doing so. That is certainly something that I want to negotiate and have talks about. I am very keen that that continues to be the case. I will ensure that my officials continue to engage with CPNI on that issue.”

Speaking later Mr Gardiner said: “This is an example of how positive change can be achieved through a positive attitude by all parties in the Assembly. The Minister was receptive to my suggestion. It shows that positive cooperative engagement between the parties works.”