The Welsh Government has announced updated goals in line with the Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee’s vision for pharmacy, Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales.

The goals, to be achieved by December 2025, set out expectations of what the pharmacy profession can expect to achieve across four key areas: enhancing patient experience, developing the pharmacy workforce, seamless pharmaceutical care and harnessing technology and innovation.

They include:

  • Embedding elements of a medicines genomic plan into pharmacy practice
  • Introducing efficiencies in medicines dispensing to allow pharmacy professionals to spend more time with patients
  • Implementing electronic prescribing solutions across all pharmacy settings
  • Increasing patient access to pharmacist independent prescribers (PIPs), ensuring the expertise of PIPs are fully utilised across all care settings
  • Establishing direct referral systems to and from pharmacy services
  • Establishing a network of consultant pharmacists to provide leadership on clinical priority areas in Wales

The goals also focused on increasing patient access to drugs, for instance by continuing the Transforming Access to Medicines programme which aims to improve access to unique patient-centred medicines, like injectable systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT), parenteral (intravenous) nutrition and radio-pharmaceuticals used in diagnosis and treatment of cancers, by moving the aseptic services that prepare and supply them from hospitals to regional centres.

Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Health and Social Services, welcomed the new goals, saying that the goals built upon reforms announced earlier this year, which she described as ‘the most significant reform of the way community pharmacies provide services since the NHS was created more than 70 years ago’, allowing community pharmacy teams to ‘consistently [use] their expertise to support patients and our health and care services.’

She added that she was ‘looking forward to seeing how the role of pharmacy professionals in other sectors can be transformed to achieve even more in the coming years.’

In December 2021, changes to the pharmacy contract enabled all pharmacies in Wales to provide a national prescribing service. The Welsh government said that a third of pharmacies should be able to offer an extended range of prescribing services by the end of 2022.

Andrew Evans, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales, said that ‘the transformation of the role of community pharmacies has helped us meet the unprecedented challenges we face as a result of the last two years.’

He added that ‘the refreshed goals provide the basis for supporting and developing the role of pharmacy professionals who work in our hospitals and in community care, to ensure they can continue to meet the changing needs of patients and are empowered to respond to the challenges faced by the NHS.’

He said that in addition to the technological focus of the goals, the plans also set out ‘to ensure the profession meets its obligations to be more socially responsible, tackling inequalities in health, supporting environmental sustainability and promoting the use of the Welsh language.’

Elen Jones, Director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Wales, said that the goals were important in ‘breaking down boundaries between care settings’ to help patients benefit from pharmacy expertise ‘wherever and whenever they need it’.

Jonathan Simms, Chair of the Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee, said that the goals recognised workforce challenges and the changing role of pharmacy teams as they adapted during the pandemic.

‘With this comes opportunities to deliver new roles, embed new skills and drive the use of technology to make Wales a vibrant place to work whilst delivering excellent pharmaceutical care,’ he said.