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GRTU, Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises would like to refer recent statements in the media made by Mr Reggie Fava, a former President of the Chamber of Commerce, regarding the Pharmacy Of Your Choice scheme. Mr Fava reprimanded government for not consulting with stakeholders, for introducing the scheme in a hurry, and for offering a pathetic remuneration to pharmacists who will run the scheme

Reggie Fava is completely wrong in stating that the Government did not consult with the stakeholders. On the question of a pharmacy of your choice service to patients in the community, the only, and obvious stakeholders are the two recognised social partners, GRTU in representation of pharmacy owners and the Chamber of Pharmacists in representation of managing pharmacists in the community. Many meetings were held during the last fifteen years, and these were intensified during the last five years. In actual fact, the surfeit of meetings held on this issue with Government must surely break all records in Malta. At all times, various aspects of the agreement were discussed in meetings held for all pharmacy owners, be they pharmacists or lay. The Joint Negotiating Committee was always given a mandate to do so by the vast majority of pharmacy owners.

 

GRTU is surprised that a person of the experience of Reggie Fava, who besides being an established businessman is also a pharmacist, is insisting that “money” rather than “service to patients” should have been given more importance in the negotiations. This is in direct contrast to what GRTU and the Chamber of Pharmacists, have consistently, in the whole process of negotiations adopted as the most important criteria, the well-being and optimum service to patients without the suffering of any financial loss to pharmacies. GRTU and the Chamber of Pharmacists strongly believe that patients in MaltaMalta. The scheme is in its initial first stage and deserves the full support of all genuine professionals. entitled to free medicines deserved the same professional service as a fee paying patient using the excellent professional services offered by our pharmacies in the community. This is what the POYC agreement is introducing in

 

During the last 15 years of negotiations, both organisations kept in mind the principle that the patients’ needs come foremost. Indeed, the agreement has achieved a happy balance between cost effectiveness, healthcare in the community and service to the patient. This agreement means that the patients in our towns and villages will finally have the professional service of a pharmacist in their community and this will do away with the hardships suffered over so many years by patients. This can only lead to a truly holistic community service that will in turn improve dramatically the level of Primary Care in the community. The payment to pharmacists covers the costs that will be incurred with such a scheme, and the financial package and the pharmacy regulations package was approved by the absolute vast majority of pharmacy owners.

 

It is regrettable that Reggie Fava and a marginal minority remained on the periphery seeking only financial interests in superiority of the total advantages to pharmacies in the community as an essential lead in the health service to the community. It is however with satisfaction that GRTU and Chamber of Pharmacists have now witnessed the registration of this peripheral minority of objecting pharmacy owners, who have now accepted to adhere also to the agreed POYC project. This happy conclusion signified that 99 % of pharmacies will be giving the POYC service to the public in Malta and Gozo. GRTU, along with the other social partners, the Chamber of Pharmacists and the Health Ministry, is working hard to conclude the pilot study preliminaries in the coming week. Pharmacy owners and pharmacists in the pilot area have worked very hard in the last month to gather the necessary data for the scheme. They should be applauded and not be demoralised by such negativity expressed by, surprisingly enough a fellow pharmacy owner and pharmacist.

 

On this issue Reggie Fava stands alone.

 

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