‘Despicable’ scenes at HSE-operated pharmacy

HSE admit to ‘start-up issue’

As the HSE and pharmacy dispute continues, many Mayo patients are left stranded without medication as the two HSE-operated pharmacies, which are part of the health services contingency plan, fail to provide necessary medication when needed. Patients who are not under the State drugs scheme were also left trying to find an open pharmacy in the county as pharmacists staged a protest about the HSE not entering into an agreement with them.

HSE-run pharmacies located at St Mary’s Hospital, Castlebar, and Arus Deirbhle, Belmullet, have been trying to cope with demand since they came into operation on Saturday August 1, while the HSE pharmacy in Ballina has not yet been established.

On visiting the community pharmacy at St Mary’s on Wednesday morning, it is clear that the contingency plan is flawed as there were inadequate stocks of medication available on demand.

The service, which opened at 10am, had 13 patients of varied age profile in the vicinity at 11am that morning. Staff immediately greeted each patient where they took their prescription and gave them a number and directed them to a waiting room where there were tea and coffee facilities; an obvious indication that it would be a long wait for some patients.

One elderly woman from the Castlebar area who was waiting for one item explained that she first waited in the pharmacy for two hours on Saturday and rang on Tuesday to see if the medication was in, when it was explained to her that it would be on Wednesday. Finally after two taxi trips, a mislead prescription, and a two-hour wait on Wednesday morning, the medicine was dispensed to her.

A middle aged woman from outside Castlebar vented her anger at one of the pharmacists as she was informed that her blood pressure and tablets needed for a heart condition were not available. The woman asked, “What am I going to do? Have a stroke?”

The clearly distressed woman said that she waited for four hours on Saturday for this urgent medication. She took time off work on Tuesday to come in to check to see if the medication was in stock and was told to come back in on Wednesday morning when it would be in stock; however the medication delivery had not yet arrived.

orking in the TV industry is something he always craved, even if he took the industrious route of completing a degree in computer science and then working for a bank in Dublin. However, with an intrinsic passion for working in the media along with an ambitious drive, Simon pursued his goal where he landed a job as a runner for The Panel. Thus began his media career and since then Simon was the “gadget guy” on 2TV; was the entertainment correspondent on Seoige and Ó Sé; moved to London where he worked as a freelance assistance producer for ITV and BBC, and ironically turned down a job offer to work on The Apprentice to instead take part in Apprentice type situations on Total Xposure to become the fifth presenter of Xposé.

Simon said that the past seven weeks have been a “crazy, intense experience” but has been great fun and he has come out from the process making new “great friends”.

On Tuesday night Simon, alongside fellow contestant Seán Munsanje, was put forward by judges Emma Ledden, Gerry Lundberg and Michael O’Doherty to the final. On Wednesday night Ruth O’Neill, Stuart McQuitty and Anthony Kelly were pitted against each other to win the public vote, with Ruth securing a coveted place in the final.

Simon, whose family still live in Castlebar, said that he hopes to come home soon for a visit, and if the public assist him by voting for him he will hopefully return to his hometown with a new job in tow!

Voting lines are now open until Tuesday. To vote for Simon text Simon to 53307 or call 1513 712 303 (text and call charges apply ).

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