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GSD raises concern over GHA prescription policy

St Bernard's Hospital. Photo by Eyleen Gomez.

The GSD yesterday raised concern over reports of people experiencing difficulties in accessing medicines.

In a press statement the party said the Gibraltar Health Authority’s prescription policy appeals process saw 50% allowed, which they said indicates the policy is opaque and unclear to pharmacists, doctors and the public at large.

The appeal process allows aggrieved persons to have recourse to a review of decisions regarding the prescriptions of certain drugs, the GSD understands.

The party then questioned the high number of reversals.

“We are being told that there is a huge disconnect in understanding between GPs, the Chief Pharmacist, dispensing pharmacies and patients,” Shadow Minister for Health Elliott Phillips said.

“We have first-hand evidence of emergency medication such as adrenalin EpiPens being restricted or otherwise not been provided to patients with repeat prescriptions based on ‘budgetary constraints’.”

“We have received numerous reports of pain medication not being dispensed.”

The GSD suggested that the policy is operating too harshly on individual cases, which they said is undoubtedly causing anxiety to patients.

The party said the patient must come first always and decisions to refuse or offer alternatives must be done with the fullest possible involvement and consent of the patient.

“Everyone understands that the prescription policy must work efficiently to root out abuse and everyone understands that if clinical evidence does not support continued prescribing of certain drugs to patients, then they should be restricted, but what we are seeing is a fundamental breakdown in policy, communication and patient empathy which can put at risk the health and welfare of our citizens,” Mr Phillips said.

“Ultimately the patients’ needs should be the priority and the current policy is failing to meet those needs as can be demonstrated by the fact that 50% of all appeals appear to be successful.”

“This is causing unnecessary anxiety to people.”

The GSD called on the Government to ensure the GHA’s prescription policy works well for patients.

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