Fabian Demicoli

The state of POYC today – Government is being warned

GRTU, along with the Chamber of Pharmacists and the Government, is now in the process of launching POYC in another district in Malta, a district that was previously covered by the Luqa Health Centre Pharmacy.

The rollout, despite the usual teething problems, is going well, and patients are registering themselves with the pharmacies of their choice and warmly welcoming the new system. This is a testament to the POYC system, which has proven over and over again to alleviate the hardships that people used to face when collecting their free medicine entitlement. The success has been achieved largely due to the hard work of the pharmacy owners, the pharmacists and staff, and despite the fact that the Government has repeatedly failed to keep its contractual and operational promises. A ray of hope has been the new Medicines Procurement System implemented by the Ministry Of Health, that follows very closely the advice GRTU has been giving the Ministry to overhaul its antiquated tender systems and put in place more modern procurement system. The new system has practically solved the old out of stock situation.

The agreement governing POYC, however is now reaching the end. Government was contractually bound to start negotiations on a new agreement two years ago. Despite the many representations by both the GRTU and the Chamber Of Pharmacists, Government procrastinates…and procrastinates…and then procrastinates again. This has now become an unacceptable way of doing things and shows the deep disregard and the lack of respect that the Government has towards the sector of private pharmacies.

The Government is being warned. When action will be taken by GRTU, it will be drastic and unexpected. Unless Government gets its act together and sits down at the negotiating table, that action will come. We have had enough of dilly-dallying civil servants who build little empires and perch on them like Prima-Donnas. We have had enough of having to have to threaten action for someone to do his duty. This time, we will not sabre rattle. We will take action.

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