The Welsh Government will invest £100,000 in training pharmacists to manage minor ailments, it was announced today (23 May).

The specialist training will be available to 50 pharmacists across the country and will focus on clinical assessment skills for triaging and treating minor ailments such as chicken pox, conjunctivitis, sore throats, acute backache and acute dermatitis.

Clinical assessment skills for treating such ailments are traditionally not included in initial pharmacy training, the Government said.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government told The Pharmacist that the selection criteria is yet to be finalised but that the scheme will be open to community pharmacists and their colleagues in GP practices and at NHS 111.

The structured training programme, delivered by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), will include tutoring by experienced practitioners and clinical assessments to move the pharmacists from novice to advanced practitioner, they added.


An expanded role


Speaking at the Welsh Pharmacy Conference today, health minister Vaughan Gething said: ‘There is increasing potential for pharmacists to be seen beyond their traditional role of dispensing medicines.

‘Our commitment, backed with significant new funding this year for training and continuing professional development, will ensure a sustainable and appropriately-trained pharmacy workforce in Wales.’

In April, the Welsh Government announced it would invest £3.6m in 2020/21 in a multi-sector training programme that will ‘transform’ pharmacy training, rising to an additional £4.9m by 2023/24.

This investment is set to almost double the number of training places in Wales from around 100 each year at the moment, to 200 by August 2023 and aims to attract and train more pharmacists in Wales.

Mr Gething added that the Government’s investments will offer pharmacists ‘more varied and professionally rewarding careers.’

The minister said this scheme would free up GP time to manage more complex cases and prepare the Welsh pharmacy workforce to deliver A Healthier Wales, the Government’s long-term plan for health and social care services.

Chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales Andrew Evans said: ‘The Welsh Government and the profession have already achieved a great deal through working together.

‘It is important that we continue to respond to the changing needs both of the people of Wales and our healthcare system.’

He added: ‘Seeing the right person, at the right time, to help them to say fit and well, lies at the heart of that.’