More patients abusing pharmacy assistants


Pharmacy assistants having to deal with aggressive patients is becoming an increasingly common occurrence. Almost half of the assistants deal with aggression from patients on a weekly or daily basis - five times more than before 2014.

This is according to a study done by trade association KNMP among 741 pharmacy assistants, AD reports.

Patients are particularly upset about the costs associated with the mandatory information conversation when they receive a new medicine. From January 1st last year, this cost has been listed on the patient's bill. Before that the costs of these conversations - averaging at about 6 euros - were included in the price of the medicine. So these charges aren't new, but now the patient actually sees them. The government decided to list the charges separately in an effort to make healthcare costs more transparent.

This increase in aggression has resulted in 80 percent of the assistants not enjoying their work, compared to only 20 percent before the introduction of splitting the costs.

According to the study, assistants mainly have to deal with verbal attacks, but are occasionally also threatened physically. "People sometimes come in with fingers in their ears and say: I do not want a discussion and I do not want to pay for it." one assistant said in the study. Another assistant heard: "I'm coming to the pharmacy and I'll pull you over the counter."

KNMP president Gerben Klein Nulent suggests that the decision to split the charges on the bills be reversed. According to Nulent, patients do not understand the split costs and that the conversation charge is not a new charge. "The confusion is complete", he said. "The split should be reversed as soon as possible. Then the pharmacy assistant can once again deal with care instead of wrangling over the bill."

The Ministry of Public health will look at this study after the summer recess.