Waihemo pharmacy will stay open until July 23

The Waihemo pharmacy in Palmerston will stay open until at least Monday, July 23.

The pharmacy had been due to stop dispensing on Monday, July 2 after the refusal of Waihemo pharmacist Adrian Graamans to sign the new dispensing contract, but following negotiations this week with Otago District Health Board negotiators, it has been agreed that the pharmacy will continue to dispense medicines for a few more weeks.

During that time Mr Graamans will talk to the district health board's chief negotiators in a bid to sort out some of the problems in the new dispensing contract.

Mr Graamans has refused to sign the new contract, due this week, saying he had concerns about what he saw as flaws in the dispensing contract which needed to be resolved.

However, he said the DHB negotiators had committed themselves to "the future of the pharmacy in Palmerston".

He said the contract offered by the DHB would have meant a 38% drop in income from dispensing for the Waihemo Pharmacy, while the Meridian pharmacy in the Meridian mall in Dunedin, in which Mr Graamans also has an interest, would have had its dispensing income rise by 30%.

The multiple needs of many older people in the East Otago area would not be met by the proposed contract, Mr Graamans said, but in contrast, many of the customers at the Meridian Pharmacy were from a younger age bracket and were only seen once.

The area covered by the East Otago doctors at Palmerston and the Waihemo pharmacy included 5000 people between Hampden and Warrington. This included the open cast and underground Oceana Gold mines at Macraes which employ several hundred people.

Several other pharmacists in the southern DHB area had also refused to sign the current contract, Mr Graamans said.

He is hopeful his concerns can be allayed during negotiations with the DHB over the next few weeks.


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