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Country comparisons


Country comparisons

NPA public affairs manager Gareth Jones compares pharmacy services in the UK to those in other European countries

Recent examples have shown that pharmacies on the continent have some catching up to do with their UK counterparts in terms of pharmacy services.

UK community pharmacy has a track record of delivering public health services such as the supply of emergency hormonal contraception and administration of flu vaccinations. Parts of Europe have some catching up to do in these areas.

For example, legislators in Malta are currently at loggerheads over how to provide women with access to the morning- after pill (the island has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe). They have yet
to conclude their debate on whether pharmacists are capable of providing women with information on the risks and side effects, as well as discussing long-term contraception methods and sexual health.

Meanwhile, French politicians are taking steps to allow pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations on an experimental basis. The measure was agreed in the lower house’s commission for social affairs and will be examined in the French parliament next week.

Pharmacy teams in the UK are already well into their stride. Last year, the total number of flu jabs given in community pharmacies in England under the national Flu Vaccination Service was 595,467, and this year the 450,000 mark was reached in the first six weeks of the service.

International comparisons show us what differentiates UK pharmacy and also what it is that countries have in common. The latest monthly newsletter of the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union reports a furious reaction in the Belgian healthcare sector to budget cuts by health ministers there. The headline is: ‘This healthcare budget is a scalpel in our backs’.

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