Immediate attention for non-Pharmacy Council compliant SAMHS facilities

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A non-compliance red light warning for SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) pharmacies is receiving immediate attention.

The issue was raised this week in a letter defenceWeb has seen naming three lengthy outstanding “non-negotiables” with five military health pharmacies not legislative compliant and thus operating illegally. The five are at Phalaborwa, home to 7 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion; Vuvani (15 SAI); Youngsfield (3 Field Engineer, General Jan Smuts and Blaauwberg Armour regiments); Durban military base hospital and the military health base depot (MHBD) in Thaba Tshwane.

The five have, according to the letter, been operating for “a number of years on an illegal basis”. This includes unlicensed pharmacies, no responsible pharmacist (RP) on premises, and the Durban facility closed permanently in the wake of the 2021 floods.

Another seven SAMHS pharmacies, again according to the letter, operate without an RP on premise. They are at Bluff Military Base, what is called the “Pietersburg health centre”, Air Force Base (AFB) Ysterplaat, Wingfield, Infantry School, Molopo military health care in Mafikeng and Eerste Rivier (9 SAI).

A further six SAMHS pharmacies could be closed if they receive a third consecutive C grading from the SA Pharmacy Council (SAPC). The Bluff and Wingfield facilities are also part of this along with pharmacies at Mtubatuba (121 SAI), Umtata healthcare centre, Doornkop and Dunnottar.

Immediate intervention is postulated as the sole option to prevent closure.

This is underway, the country’s largest military labour representative body Sandu (SA National Defence Union) advised by way of its National Secretary.

Pikkie Greeff said an immediate mandate has been given “to attend each implicated pharmacy and ensure compliance”. A charter for the project is being drafted and no closures will occur, he assured Sandu members. They along with other serving SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and registered family members as well as military veterans who qualify for healthcare benefits will continue to receive services including prescription and other medication from responsible SAHMS pharmacists.