Pharmacies across the country are reporting that they are being bullied into signing a new contract for service with their local DHB, without knowing what it is they are signing up to, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Maryan Street.
“I am being inundated with copies of letters to Health Minister Tony Ryall from pharmacists saying that this contract, which many of them are only seeing for the first time now, contains professional and financial risks for them and that the process is rushed.
“They have to sign these contracts by June 26, without having sufficient time to clarify processes which allow them to do their professional job adequately. A new system for looking after people with long term care needs is being introduced without any discernible evidence base, and they have not had time to work out what it means for their professional practice and their patients.
“The Minister needs to step in and sort this out. Even a short delay so that pharmacists could work out how they can comply with the contract, let alone what they might be paid for it, is in order, so that pharmacies, which are critical health care providers, can agree to this contract in an orderly way.
“In answer to questions in the House today, Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said that this contract had been two years in the making and most people were in favour of it.
“That is not the experience of the people who are writing to me. They complain of having insufficient time to digest a 166-page contract which has huge changes of practice in it, and no idea of what they are going to be paid after 1 February 2013.
“This is a recipe for chaos. And if pharmacists, as frontline healthcare providers are in chaos, people will suffer,” said Maryan Street.