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Pharmacy funding must lead to better opportunities for patients



The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething AM, gave the keynote speech at a conference for community pharmacists across Wales last week which specifically looked at the challenges in transforming the Welsh community pharmacy network.    The Welsh Government recently confirmed a funding announcement for 2017-18 of £144.3 million which will be used to improve access to services provided by community pharmacies, such as the common ailment service and influenza vaccinations. This additional money is being made available in Wales while the global sum for pharmacy is being cut in England.
Reflecting on the investment, the Cabinet Secretary took the opportunity of the conference, organised by Community Pharmacy Wales jointly with the Cambrian Alliance Group, to stress:
“The Welsh Government remains committed to the community pharmacy sector playing a significant role in the future of the health service and this funding is made for the quality and enhancement of community pharmacy services.
“However, this funding comes at a cost……things need to change and the money is being made available so that patients get a better deal as well as the public purse.
“As well as the increase in availability of community pharmacy services, the challenge for the sector is to improve service quality, reduce medical waste and release time for pharmacists to deliver pharmaceutical care both in and out of the pharmacy.”
In addition to the funding, the Health Secretary also announced the Welsh Government will provide funding in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to make the Choose Pharmacy IT application available to all pharmacies in Wales.
Mark Griffiths, a pharmacist and Chairman of the Cambrian Alliance Group who also chairs the board of Community Pharmacy Wales, welcomed the contribution of the Cabinet Secretary and said:
“We are delighted that the Welsh Government is continuing to work collaboratively with us as a profession to maximise the opportunities to modernise and utilise the pharmacy network in Wales at the same time as funding is being cut in England. The commitment to make the Choose Pharmacy platform available to every community pharmacy is a particularly welcome step and is an affirmation of our central role as part of the health care family in Wales.
“We are pleased with an outcome that sees funding secured to increase access to pharmacy services throughout Wales and the Board of Community Pharmacy Wales is committed to getting high levels of engagement and delivery from our contractors to make sure that community pharmacists play an ever expanding role in the delivery of health care in Wales.”
Nathan Wiltshire, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Cambrian Alliance Group, added: “The Welsh Government’s continued support of pharmacy in Wales is welcome news. Community pharmacists are a key component of the primary care chain providing invaluable services and helping thousands of patients across Wales every week and as a buying group we will continue to support them.”