Community pharmacy in Wales will receive a total of £144.3m for 2017/18, health secretary Vaughan Gething announced yesterday (10 April).

The funding is expected by the Government to improve access to community pharmacy services, as well as supporting the implementation of a pharmacy quality programme and collaborative working between pharmacies and other primary care providers.

Gething said: 'Last year, I reaffirmed the Welsh Government’s commitment to the community pharmacy sector as a fundamental part of a strong primary care service in Wales.

'At a time when thousands of community pharmacies in England face closure as a result of funding cuts of over 7%, I said there were no proposals to reduce investment in community pharmacy here in Wales. Today’s announcement shows we’ve been true to our promise.'

Choose Pharmacy IT

The health secretary also announced that 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.

Gething added: 'Choose Pharmacy will support pharmacists to deliver an increasing range of patient focussed clinical services.  Our common ailment scheme allows people with minor ailments to see highly-skilled pharmacists for advice and treatment, freeing up GPs’ time to focus on those people with more complex cases and reduce patient waiting times.

'Choose Pharmacy will also give pharmacists access to patients’ summary medical records, which will significantly reduce the number of people who need to be referred to GP, out-of-hours services and A&E departments and will deliver considerable improvements in patient safety, I’m delighted we’ve been able to make the Choose Pharmacy IT application available to all pharmacies in Wales.'

'An ever-expanding role'

Phil Parry, Community Pharmacy Wales chair 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.'