Let’s face it, contracts are just plain confusing. Few people have the patience to read over hundreds of pages of technical mumbo jumbo before signing their lives away.

The GMS Scheme in Ireland has allowed for reform within the GMS contract that is meant to strengthen the medical workforce. This will allow more opportunities for any employee in the medical field.

However, understanding the contract and finding out how you fit as a professional within pharmaceuticals can be challenging.

That’s why today we are going to break down the basics for understanding GMS contracts and how they can benefit you personally.

Understanding GMS Contracts

What is the GMS Scheme?

The GMS Scheme is a subcomponent of the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS), which is run by the Health Service Executive (HSE.)

GMS stands for “General Medical Services.” GMS contracts are contracts for employees working to benefit people who receive care under the GMS Scheme.

The GMS Scheme in Ireland provides medical and surgical services to underserved members of the community. Without the GMS Scheme, these patients would otherwise have difficulty receiving care due to their annual income.

Through the GMS scheme, patients are entitled to a Medical Card (MC) or a General Practitioner Visit Card (GPVC.) These two types of cards allow them to receive medical treatment.

Understanding the Demographic of Patients Receiving Care Under the GMS Scheme

Over the last 4-5 years, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has been tracking the demographics of patients receiving care under the GMS scheme and the trends of care.

Understanding your graphic and the changing population in your community can help you find job opportunities and prepare yourself for the type of care you will be providing.

It has been found that over the last few years, the number of patients using the Medical Card has been falling steadily.

According to this research, the reason for this drop is the increasing income of the younger generation and the increased life expectancy of the older generation.

While those carrying Medical Cards have fallen, those with General Practitioner Visitation Cards have been steadily on the rise. There are two primary age groups that this card is serving, those between the ages of 0-4 and those that are of 70+ years.

These statistics tell us a little bit about the demographics that you may be serving, and also show you that those under the care of the GMS Scheme are increasing which will provide job opportunities for you.

The Goal of a New and Improved GMS Contract

Worldwide, there has been a shift in the medical community to focus on preventative healthcare and move away from simply being sickness management.

In order to accomplish this, there needs to be excellent doctors, pharmacists, and nurses working in the medical force.

One sure-fire solution to growing quality and reliable medical workforce is to offer contracts that allow employees to achieve a proper work-life balance and utilize their special skills.

GMS contracts are meant to be more flexible and allow GPs to cover more medical services. This is very much in line with the WHO (World Health Organization) findings that increased access to quality healthcare will lead to higher patient satisfaction and lower overall healthcare spending for a country.

Ireland has recognized this need along with the rest and fine-tuned the GMS Contract to focus on building a powerful workforce that will benefit both its employees and the communities that they serve.

Keeping reliable workers within the country is essential to the success of the GMS Scheme. That’s one of the many reasons that we offer services to help you find a job within Ireland when you are ready.

Now that General Practitioners have the option to offer additional services within their contracts, such as minor surgeries or video consultations, community pharmacists will be essential to assist with the dispensing needs associated with these additional services in order to best serve the community.

Applying this Approach to Your Career

It is worth considering this approach and how you can achieve fulfillment in both your work life and your personal life. Having a contract that allows some flexibility and room to grow is essential in this aspect.

Locum pharmacists are an important part of the pharmaceutical workforce, and they are also considered to be self-employed. Becoming a locum pharmacist is attractive because you are able to choose your own hours and the location that you would like to work in. The pay for locum pharmacists has also been known to be lucrative.

Perhaps the largest benefit to being a locum pharmacist is the potential to hire your own staff. Many pharmacists that are part of chains grow tired of contentious staff relations, just like any career.

However, hiring a staff that you trust and that you have a positive professional relationship can improve all aspects of your work life. It is commonly known that a person who is happy in their work is also more likely to be happy in their home life.

Beyond just being personally happier, hiring a smaller and more trustworthy staff gives you the opportunity to give back to your own employees. The opportunity to get to know everyone personally on your team and set a tone from the very beginning means that you will also be able to offer your staff more flexible contract options.

These benefits will guarantee quality employees and ensure that you are able to efficiently help your community!

Understanding the Roles of Pharmacy in the GMS Contract

The key to understanding the GMS contract is to understand how this will affect General Practitioners.

Under the GMS contract, General Practitioners sign exactly what services they will be offering and what hours they will be offering these services.

The GP is bound by their contract to offer these services to anyone that is eligible according to the HSE.

All of this information is pretty standard and may not have a huge effect on you as a pharmacist.

In order to truly understand your new role in relation to GMS contracts, you will need to read over the sections regarding prescribing and dispensing.

The gist of the contract is that medical practitioners will be dispensing drugs or medicine to their patients. However, they are able to opt-out of dispensing medicine.

The medical practitioner is required to obtain their information about the requirements of medicine and appliances on a form created by the HSE that is filled out by a pharmacist. The pharmacist being prioritized for this must be within a reasonable distance of the medical practitioner, although if no such pharmacist is available the next most convenient retail pharmacist can be contacted.

This pharmacist must have also entered an agreement with the HSE for the supply of drugs, medicine, and appliances.

Choosing a job that is in a relevant geographical location and ensuring that you are in compliance with the HSE are two steps that you can take to increase your personal success.

Finding a Job

All of this information can seem overwhelming and fruitless if you are still working on finding a job with a general practice.

When looking for a job, it is important to think outside of the box. See if you can extend your knowledge and skills beyond just the typical pharmaceutical skills.

Try exploring how to cut down costs in the place where you work and learn how to increase cost-effectiveness. Familiarizing yourself with these elements of the health industry will increase your personal value to any team that you join!

We already mentioned the potential benefits of being self-employed as well. In the stage of finding a job, this is a time you are able to really sit down and consider this option for your long-term happiness and career goals.

We know that finding a job can be absolutely exhausting! That’s why we created MedPharm. We specialize in pharmacy recruitment and staffing solutions to eliminate some of the stress that comes with finding a job.

Here at MedPharm, we work with both employers and potential candidates to find the right fit,. MedPharm works with a variety of pharmacists, from supervising pharmacists to pharmacist technicians, to find an excellent employment match.

Put Your New Knowledge Into Action

Whew! We know that that was a lot of information to throw your way, but now you know the basics of the GMS Scheme, GMS contracts, and your role in the pharmaceutical industry.

The key is to understanding GMS contracts is to understand the different services that general practices offer and understand what services you personally have to offer. Choosing the right type of environment for your employees is also crucial. The GMS contract emphasizes the importance of geographic proximity, so make sure not to overlook this factor when finding employment.

If you ever run into trouble finding a job, you can always contact us to help you out. We can’t wait to see how you can help improve your community and the lives of hundreds of patients under the GMS contract.