Page last updated at 07:11 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

New deal ends pharmacy dispute

Drugs in a pharmacy
Pharmacists can offer treatment for minor ailments

A dispute which resulted in some chemists refusing to treat patients with minor ailments such as flu, head lice and diarrhoea has been settled.

There was an argument between pharmacists and the Department of Health over the fees they were getting.

A new deal means each pharmacy will get 10.04 for the first 500 consultations, 9.04 for the next 500, 8.04 for the next 1,000 and 6.54 up to 2,250.

Health minister Michael McGimpsey said the scheme provided "expert advice".

"It will ensure that community pharmacy remains at the heart of healthcare provision in the community and allows patients to benefit further from the skills of community pharmacists," he said.

Tim Corrie, Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Contractors' Committee of Northern Ireland, said they were pleased they had reached an agreement.

"It is good news for patients and the public - we know how much they value this service," he said.

"It is also good news for the Health Service because it saves taxpayers' money by reducing unnecessary visits to Accident and Emergency or GP surgeries."

The service will resume in the new year.

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