Anger as community pharmacists vote for industrial action

Tue, 25/02/2020 - 11:55 -- Editor

SDLP Health spokesperson, Sinead Bradley MLA has responded to a 98% vote to press ahead with industrial action by community pharmacists.

The South Down MLA said: “Despite apparent cross party consensus around the importance of local pharmacies in delivering vital services to the public, there is no evidence of practical support from the Department of Health. It is a damning indictment of this lack of support, that 98% of community pharmacies feel no other option but to take industrial action. The SDLP supports this difficult but necessary action.”

“Across the North community pharmacists are struggling; government funding has been cut, and local chemist shops are having to make staff redundant and reduce opening hours, ultimately damaging our communities.”

“Some years ago, the Compton Review, reinforced by the Bengoa plan, envisaged an enhanced role for Community Pharmacy in the transformation of how healthcare is provided here, but this intransigence will, I fear, lead to chemist closures and will have a severe impact on people’s access to healthcare.”

“I will be engaging with Health Minister Swann and colleagues on the Health Committee to see what action can be taken to support this vital sector.”