Following his visit to Sheppards Pharmacy in Llanharry, Huw was impressed at the way community pharmacy is embracing new opportunities being offered by the Welsh Government.
The visit comes as the Conservative UK Government announced proposals to cut the funding available to community pharmacies in England. There is a planned 4% reduction in 2016-17, and over 7% in 2017-18. In contrast, the Welsh Government has re-stated its commitment to the community pharmacy sector, with £20million investment to support and enhance pharmacy services in Wales. The details of the funding announcement are currently being negotiated between the Welsh Government and Community Pharmacy Wales, but they will entail significant expansion of the number of services you can obtain in a local pharmacy.
The new Choose Pharmacy IT platform being rolled out by the Welsh Government will see pharmacists take responsibility for managing a range of minor ailments, allowing people to see their pharmacist for free treatment instead of making an appointment to see their GP, freeing up GP time to deal with people with more complex needs.
Huw Irranca-Davies AM said: “I’ve long been a supporter of making better use of our community pharmacists. They are the experts in medicines management. We need pharmacists to be able to see a patient’s medical records so they can make sure the medicine they have been prescribed is the correct dose. They can also do so much more to offer treatments to take pressure off GPs and I’m delighted the Labour-run Welsh Government sees this potential and will be investing heavily in protecting and enhancing our community pharmacy service in Wales.”
Russell Goodway from Community Pharmacy Wales said: “Huw really saw the potential for using the community pharmacy network to help bring about a localised service in which the over 700 community pharmacies in Wales play a full and expanding role in delivering health care.”