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Mean Prescription Policies Threaten Patient Safety

Mean Prescription Policies Threaten Patient Safety

New Zealand First has called on the Health Minister to sort out the messy contract negotiations between pharmacies and District Health Boards before patient safety is jeopardised.

The Pharmacy Guild last year negotiated a national contract with the Ministry of Health for dispensing medicine but district health boards have now taken over paying pharmacies and six of the 21 boards won’t accept the contract.

Health spokesperson Pita Paraone says the Government has effectively washed its hands of the issue and that attempts by some of the boards to cut pharmacy costs could mean compromised patient safety.

“We have evidence that pressure at primary health level is resulting in an increasing number of mistakes in prescriptions.

“These mistakes can only be picked up by pharmacists. It is part of their job and what they are paid for. Their fees should not be screwed down to the point that pharmacists cannot fulfill their obligations to both patients and doctors.”

Mr Paraone said that all district health boards should have honoured the contract negotiated between pharmacies and the Ministry of Health and that the Minister should have insisted on this.

“Instead, the biggest boards are trying to cut dispensing fees – abetted by their political mistress who wont fund them adequately in the first place.

“The situation is a mess and the Minister should accept that the buck stops at her desk, instead of ducking for cover behind under funded boards,” said Mr Paraone.

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