GOOD RE­VIEWS

Wait­ing time sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced at Drug Serv phar­ma­cies

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

SINCE THE Na­tional Health Fund (NHF) started the takeover of pub­lic-sec­tor phar­ma­cies in 2017 un­der the name DrugServ, the agency said it has man­aged to re­duce the av­er­age wait­ing time from about three hours to one hour and 20 min­utes.

This has been con­firmed by DrugServ cus­tomers in the Cor­po­rate Area who spoke with The Gleaner, but the is­sue of un­avail­abil­ity of drugs is a com­mon thread, with some in­di­cat­ing that they some­times have to visit other DrugServ lo­ca­tions to get the drugs they need.

One cus­tomer said, “A no all the while, still. Some­time them have the three weh me hus­band want. All some­time them no have it all ... so you haffi a go DrugServ inna Cross Road.”

NHF CEO Ever­ton An­der­son in­di­cated that the agency has been able to in­crease the ser­vice level for pre­scrip­tions to an av­er­age of 83 per cent of items on each pre­scrip­tion but pointed to sev­eral rea­sons why this num­ber is still not at 100 per cent.

He said that “global short­ages of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals; dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of prod­ucts by man­u­fac­tur­ers; and reg­u­la­tory is­sues, where a prod­uct may be avail­able but not reg­is­tered in Ja­maica with the Min­istry of Health” are fac­tors that af­fect the avail­abil­ity of drugs.

There were some cus­tomers who said that they still ex­pe­ri­ence wait­ing times ex­ceed­ing three hours. An­der­son said this could be due to the types of pre­scrip­tions these pa­tients are try­ing to have filled and the num­ber of items thereon.

“Pre­scrip­tions with up to 10 items are reg­u­larly seen, with some pre­scrip­tions hav­ing as many as 15 items. For these pa­tients, wait time will be a lit­tle longer as we work to safely dis­pense drugs to our clients,” An­der­son said.

Most cus­tomers, how­ever, re­ported en­coun­ter­ing no is­sues when they visit the pub­lic-sec­tor phar­ma­cies.

“No, I don’t have no is­sue. If I come here early, I can go back home be­fore 10 o’clock. The ser­vice all right. Some peo­ple try to cut, but prin­ci­ple is prin­ci­ple,” said An­gela Patterson, who vis­its the phar­macy ev­ery two months.

An­other cus­tomer, Merlina Edwards, who was at an­other lo­ca­tion in the Cor­po­rate Area, shared sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments.

“You don’t have to wait as long as be­fore ... . The ser­vice is very good,” Edwards said.

In Fe­bru­ary 2017, Cab­i­net made a de­ci­sion for the NHF to take over the man­age­ment of phar­macy ser­vices in the pub­lic sec­tor. This was com­pleted in April 2018.

DUNN

PHOTO BY RUDOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Drug Serv Phar­macy, Union Square, St An­drew.

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