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NZ will lose pharmacists due to stat dispensing

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

3 September 2003

NZ will lose pharmacists due to stat dispensing

Pharmacy closures and reduced pharmacy services due to stat dispensing are leaving student pharmacists half trained, unregistered and heading overseas for jobs, National says.

National Health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says the Pharmaceutical Society has confirmed that only 80 of 170 students have placements for their 2004 intern year.

Dr Scott says pharmacies can't afford to employ interns because the change back to three-monthly dispensing has substantially hit their incomes.

"Student pharmacists are getting the same answer from pharmacies as they trawl the country for work - pharmacies that previously employed interns can no longer afford to take them on because of stat dispensing.

"We're training pharmacists to fail because they can't get the work experience they need. These students need internships to complete their qualification for registration, but this change is driving them overseas.

"Three years ago, the Prime Minister opened the new Auckland pharmacy school. But now students are searching for internships in Australia so they can qualify and take jobs there.

'Today the Health Minister had the cheek to stand up in Parliament and crow that stat dispensing is successful - yet I am getting complaints and concerns from all around the country," says Dr Scott.

"Three-monthly dispensing has been a rushed and ill-considered decision whose only saving grace is the concession allowing doctors the final say on frequency of dispensing. The decision has ignored the needs of many communities to have pharmacies, and has ignored safety issues and the needs of the elderly in rest homes.

"The cost to communities, our elderly and other patients - and now our students - will far outweigh any money the Government saves," says Dr Scott.

Ends

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