Get the bigger picture, N Ireland contractors told

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Get the bigger picture, N Ireland contractors told

Contractors in Northern Ireland needed to stop focusing on minor concerns and develop a view of the bigger picture, delegates at Numark’s Northern Ireland conference were told yesterday

Belfast independent contractor Terry Maguire highlighted a number of key facts and annual figures to members about pharmacy and healthcare in Northern Ireland:

• Health service funding is £4.5bn
• The community drugs budget is £400m
• Practice pharmacist investment is £17m
• Pharmacy funding for dispensing is £54m
• Contractors receive a total funding of £92m
• £18m of drugs are wasted
• The third Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland judicial review against the government contested just £6m of pharmacy funding
• 54 per cent of antibiotics are used inappropriately
• 1.6 tonnes of codeine are prescribed (mainly in co-codamol 30/500)
• 40 per cent more medicines are prescribed per head than England.

Community pharmacy had remained undeveloped, Dr Maguire told delegates and the conference, held at Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast. While the UK’s chief pharmacists were focused on a clinical future, too many pharmacy leaders were hindering progress. “It’s not a lack of leadership that’s the problem, it’s a lack of a common agreed vision.”

AAH parent company McKesson’s acquisition of Northern Ireland wholesaler Sangers, currently awaiting EU competition clearance, would affect local community pharmacy, said Mr Maguire. He suggested that Numark’s parent company Phoenix would not allow it to continue using Sangers if it became part of AAH. He also suggested that the acquisition would pave the way for the opening of more Lloydspharmacy branches in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on McKesson’s acquisition of Sangers, Numark managing director John D’Arcy said: “We’re looking to continue our relationship with Sangers for as long as possible”.

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