Community Pharmacists across Ireland have welcomed the expansion of the free contraception scheme for young women. However, the Pharmacy Union has called on the government to make it easier and faster for young women to avail of the scheme by enabling pharmacies to provide convenient access to contraception without prescription from a pharmacy. This service is available to women in the UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand.
This is about giving women choice and promoting better health outcomes. Speaking on the day that free contraception became available to all women aged 17 to 30 Kathy Maher the Chair of IPU’s Pharmacy Contractors Committee called for greater choices to be provided. “The expansion of the free contraception scheme is an extremely welcome development and should be commended. However, with GPs across the country expressing concern about their excessive workloads the requirement for a GP prescription could make accessing the scheme difficult.” Turn to page 5 for the full story.
In other news, October hosts World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, and on page 20 of this issue, Dr Julie Ling looks closer at palliative care in Ireland. Dr Ling is CEO of the European Association for Palliative Care/ Chair, Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance. She notes, “Ireland has made huge advances in developing and strengthening palliative care. As we mark World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, this year’s campaign provides the opportunity to celebrate success but also to address the substantial gaps in access to palliative care services, to ensure that there is not only improved access to palliative care in Ireland but also to involve our communities.”
Women’s Health is the focal point for a special focus section from pages 24 to 53 and we have some excellent contributed articles including Dr John Waterstone, Medical Director with the Waterstrone Clinic, who gives readers an insight into the pharmacy role in subfertility; and Dr Genevieve Ferraris, GP and Menopause Specialist, The Menopause Hub. Dr Ferraris examines the use of testosterone therapy in menopausal women.
This special focus supports the news that fully publicly-funded assisted human reproduction (AHR) treatment commenced last month. Eligible patients will be entitled to one full cycle of IVF (invitro fertilisation) or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) treatment, initially provided in HSE-approved private clinics of their choice ahead of the opening next year of the first public National Advanced AHR Centre.
I hope you enjoy the issue.