Malta Independent

250 million products distribute­d among 143,000 patients in POYC scheme

- Giulia Magri

“Some 143,000 patients receive around 250 million medicinal products every year under the Pharmacy of Your Choice Scheme,” Health Minister Chris Fearne announced yesterday morning as he launched two new initiative­s aimed at improving services offered to patients.

One of the initiative­s introduced is that the ‘yellow file’ (the official document indicating the patient’s entitlemen­t to free medication) will now expire after 10 years, instead of five. “A number of patients use the same medicine for an extended period of time, and now that their ‘yellow file’ is valid for 10 years, they can avoid having to renew it.” He explained that this initiative would reduce 3,000 procedures a month for the staff and would also result in less waiting time for other patients.

Fearne said that the second initiative was the establishm­ent of a digital platform which could simplify the renewal of medicine for POYC patients. He explained that the platform would have all the necessary informatio­n of these patients, which their doctors could access to change or adjust dosages. “This procedure would increase efficiency and patient safety. Doctors can register the change in medication directly, reducing excessive paper work.

POYC CEO Celia Falzon said that the new were are to improve the procedures of POYC, ensuring better security and services for patients. “We are working towards a more modern system, making sure that all our medicine is the best for our patients. The procedure for this new digital platform has been in the works for over a year and the database will be introduced to nearly every pharmacy in Malta and Gozo.”

Fearne said that such initiative­s aimed to improve POYC services, making them more efficient and increasing patients’ wellbeing. He explained that POYC services had been expanded drasticall­y throughout the years.

“There are over 143,000 patients who have applied for a service with POYC, which distribute­s over 250 million products every year and has an annual budget of €28 million.”

Fearne said that over the past few years, POYC had adapted and improved its system; firstly improving patients waiting time. He said that instead of patients having to wait weeks for their medication papers, they could pick up their papers from the office. There are now three other POYC offices: one in Gozo, one at Mater Dei Hospital and another in Paola, giving patients more choice.

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