A Picton pharmacist is frustrated at having to advise customers on sensitive medical issues on the pharmacy floor while a purpose-built consultation room is used as an “expensive tearoom”.
Picton Medical Centre Pharmacy co-owner Chris Webb said the room was upgraded before the Picton Medical Centre opened last November so he could discuss confidential matters in the room, including emergency contraceptive pill prescriptions.
But the room had been relegated to a storage and lunch room because of a Ministry of Health technicality.
Webb said because the pharmacy was separated from the consultation room by two doors and 50 centimetres of carpet, it was not considered to be part of the pharmacy premises.
“It’s bureaucratic nonsense,” he said.
It would cost at least $5000 to modify access to the room so it met Ministry of Health regulations.
Forcing him to spend $5,000 to modify access would serve no public benefit at all and just be a bureaucratic cost for no purpose.
MedSafe is the Ministry of Health body responsible for regulating pharmacies.
MedSafe acting group manager Chris James said pharmacies needed to comply with requirements for patient consultation rooms to be located within a licensed premise.
If a decision was made to licence a consulting room that was not directly accessible from pharmacy premises, it could provide an unfavourable precedent, James said.
An exemption would not be granted for the Picton Medical Centre Pharmacy, he said.
Medsafe should get real. This is why many people despise bureaucracy. If you look at the photos in the story it is obviously part of the premises and a 50 cm “corridor” doesn’t change that.
The bureaucrats need to look at the intent of the rules, rather than a blind dictate.