A codeword scheme for victims of domestic abuse launched in community pharmacies across the UK could be made available in different languages in Wales, the health minister has said.

Speaking at the equality and social justice committee meeting at the Senedd last month (27 June), Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services, said that she will consider making the service is available in different languages.

Currently, 714 community pharmacies in Wales are offering the codeword scheme, otherwise known as Ask for Ani scheme, Ms Morgan said.

Ms Morgan’s comment comes after Ms Jane Dodds, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, asked the minister at the Senedd if the she could ‘tell us if people speaking different languages can access that sort of service’.

In response, Ms Morgan said: ‘I think we probably do need to go a bit further in terms of making sure that they are available in different languages. So, I think that is something that we'll take up, partly as a result of you bringing this matter to our attention.’

The Government scheme, available in English in pharmacies across the UK, enables people at risk of or suffering from abuse to ‘Ask for ANI’ (action needed immediately) in a participating pharmacy and receive support from a trained pharmacy team member.

The Pharmacist has asked the Department of Health and Social Care in England if they will also consider making the service available in other languages.

The Home Office has previously told The Pharmacist that the codeword scheme would continue indefinitely.

The Ask for ANI scheme is one of two pharmacy initiatives launched in recognition of the impact Covid restrictions have had on the ability of victims to reach out for help and support.

The other – Safe Spaces – was launched in May last year by charity Hestia and sees pharmacies use their consultation rooms as a place for victims to access information on domestic abuse support and safely make calls for assistance.

A spokesperson from Hestia told The Pharmacist that Safe Spaces also had no end date.

However, they could not say how many people had used the service due to the nature in which meetings with patients are recorded.