New pharmacy-based Minor Ailment Scheme for medical card patients - July 2016

The Health Service Executive and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) have announced the start of a pilot pharmacy-based Minor Ailment Scheme. The pilot commences on 1 July and will run in 19 pharmacies in four towns, (Kells, Roscommon, Macroom and Edenderry) for three months. After this time the pilot phase will be evaluated to establish the value of such a service.

The Minor Ailment Scheme is an extended pharmacy service, which allows pharmacists to improve public health access and broaden pharmacy roles. The Scheme will allow medical card holders to receive treatment for a list of common ailments (Dry Eye, Dry Skin, Scabies, Threadworms and Vaginal Thrush) directly from their local community pharmacy without the need for a visit to the GP.  

Kate Mulvenna, HSE Chief Pharmacist said, “Our goal is to ensure that medical card patients can access support and advice on minor ailments as quickly and effectively as possible.  In the pilot areas, patients will now be able to go directly to their local pharmacist without the need for a prescription for the minor ailments covered by the scheme. By giving appropriate advice and recommending effective treatments, community pharmacists can play a major role in keeping minor ailments out of the GP surgery.”

Commenting, IPU President Daragh Connolly said, “The IPU is delighted that this pilot is starting on 1 July for a three-month phase. We look forward to working with other healthcare professionals, including GPs, to deliver a service that will benefit patients, through broader access to treatment for minor conditions.”

Speaking at the launch of the pilot phase, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD commented, “I am very pleased to welcome the launch of this pilot for a minor ailments service, which has been developed by the HSE and the Irish Pharmacy Union. Research commissioned by my Department from the Health Research Board has identified a wide range of similar services in other jurisdictions, with varying degrees of success. This pilot scheme is a great opportunity to establish if there is a demand for such a programme and how it might benefit Irish patients."

Minor Ailments Scheme Poster

Minor Ailments Scheme Leaflet

Last updated on: 30 / 06 / 2016