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MOH recruit pharmacists

Published:Wednesday | April 16, 2008 | 4:16 PM

The Ministry of Health said its actively recruiting pharmacists to address a critical shortage in the public health sector.

Health Minister, Ruddy Spencer said the pharmacy services have experienced the greatest increase in patient load since the start of the month.

Two weeks after the government introduced its user fee abolition policy, there has been a significant increase in demand for pharmacy services across the island.

The Health Minister said the greatest impact has been in the corporate area, St. Catherine and in St. Ann.

He said an additional 45 pharmacy personnel are to be added to hospitals and health centres over the next week.

Additional steps include the payment of premium rate to attract more pharmacists to the sector, as well as sessional rates for pharmacy interns.

A travelling allowance is also to be paid to persons who travel from one area to the next to provide pharmaceutical care.

Mr. Spencer said discussions are also taking place to address the need for additional doctors and nurses.

The Health Ministry is now reviewing the list of drugs made available at hospital pharmacies and health centres free of cost.

Some drugs, which are not currently on the list, are to be added by the end of the first quarter of this financial year.

Since April one, more than 57,000 patients have registered at the Accident and Emergency and Outpatient Departments of 24 hospitals, while close to 45,000 accessed the services at some health centres.

The ministry said there was an overall 19 percent decline in the number of persons accessing public health facilities by the second week.