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Pharmacies are an ‘economic driver’ that will help Wales recover from Covid, says first minister

By Isabel Shaw

09 Sep 2021

The first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has praised the community pharmacy sector for its work throughout the pandemic and its future importance in building back the economy.  

Speaking at a dinner held at Cardiff Castle on Monday (September 6) to celebrate the centenary of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), Mr Drakeford thanked team members and said: ‘Without you [pharmacy teams]  we wouldn’t have got through this together… that’s why there is support for community pharmacy across the political spectrum in Wales.’ 

‘The word ‘community’ in community pharmacy means something,’ he said.  

‘As well as being an essential clinical resource, community pharmacy is an economic driver.  As we rebuild after the pandemic, you will be one of the anchors that help maintain the vitality of local high streets,’ he explained.  

The new health minister, Eluned Morgan, told guests, via a prerecorded video message, that the lessons of the pandemic would ‘help us further develop the role of pharmacies’. 

She said she looked forward to ‘a positive agreement [with Community Pharmacy Wales] later this financial year, which will reflect our shared ambition that every community pharmacy in Wales will provide an extended range of services, available consistently across the country’. 

She also promised ongoing support for the sector.  

Back in May, when Ms Morgan was first appointed, The Pharmacist reported that she was a ‘supporter’ of pharmacy services.  

Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW), who publicly welcomed the new minister on Twitter, also called on the next Welsh Government to develop a system for electronic prescriptions. 

It comes after the body’s manifesto which was published in May, which highlighted several changes it wants to see implemented for community pharmacy in Wales over the next five years. 

Introducing electronic prescriptions across Wales should be a ‘key priority’, CPW said in its own manifesto, to ‘facilitate improvements in the existing Repeat Dispensing service by transferring the management of repeat prescriptions from general practice to community pharmacy.’ 

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