Public sector pharmacists registered an industrial dispute for the third time this year following a breakdown in talks regarding work conditions and the financial package.
The action was ordered after protracted talks with the Health Minister did not lead anywhere. Public sector pharmacists said they have been struggling to improve conditions for a number of years, but discussions with the authorities have repeatedly failed.
Pharmacists are following a number of actions as directed by the UHM. Some will have a heavy impact on the work flow at Mater Dei including at ward level, with the exception of matters involving life-saving drugs. Pharmacists will not answer telephone calls, and pharmacy related public services will open one hour late and close one hour early.
Paper work will also not be processed. These affect applications for patients wishing to join the POYC scheme, as well as applications for free medications, better known as the Yellow Card. Community pharmacies participating in the POYC scheme will not be restocked once supplies run out.
Public sector pharmacists perform a wide variety of work, ranging from the procurement of medicines for the public hospital to operating the POYC system and dispensing medicine.