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The Salvadore
Vol 270 No 7246 p565
26 April 2003

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Draft strategy ( 235K)

Pharmacy plan for Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has published a consultative community pharmacy strategy which sees potential for pharmacists to provide an open door to the health service.

"The community pharmacist will be recognised as the medicines expert working as an integral part of the health and social care team, freely accessible to everyone," the draft strategy states.

Announcing the start of consultation on the plan, Northern Ireland's Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Health, Des Browne, said: "The pharmacist is often the public's first and only point of with a health professional. ... There is broad agreement that their contribution could be much better utilised."

A central aim will be to improve public access to pharmacy services. One of the proposals is for more outreach services, such as home visits.

There are also plans to explore ways of improving access in remote or deprived areas.

Frank Murray, chairman of the Northern Ireland Pharmaceutical Contractors Committee said: "We fully endorse the Minister's view of the key role community pharmacy has to play in delivering health advice and health services in the heart of our community, particularly to the most vulnerable. With the threat of deregulation no longer hanging over pharmacy we can get on with developing innovative pharmacy services across Northern Ireland."

The draft strategy is available online as a file (235K).

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