The Welsh Assembly Government intends to maintain community pharmacy funding at current levels over the next two years, despite significant cuts being made to the pharmacy budget in England. Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, issued a statement saying that the Welsh government is committed to continued investment over 2016/17 and 2017/18, in order to “take pressure off our GP services, reducing unnecessary appointments and making sure people are able to see the right professional in the right setting at the right time.”
As part of this investment, the Choose Pharmacy IT system is currently being rolled out across Welsh pharmacies to promote full integration between community pharmacy and GPs and hospitals. Gething described this as a “demonstration of our commitment to invest in realising the benefits of the community pharmacy network.”
In the longer term, Gething said, safeguarding investment in pharmacy would be conditional on changes being made to the way in which pharmacies operate, such as: more clinically focused services being provided; improvements in the quality of services delivered; and a reduction in medicines waste.
RPS Wales chair Suzanne Scott-Thomas welcomed the announcement, describing it as a “testament to excellent patient care that pharmacists are providing to patients and the public.”
She added that there is potential for pharmacists to do even more, and that RPS Wales “would like the Choose Pharmacy campaign to be developed into a national common ailments services scheme; this coupled with a National Patient Behaviour Change campaign would do a lot to relieve pressure on GP surgeries and A&E departments."