The Welsh Government has announced a funding injection of up to £2.5m for pharmacies to increase access to, and the availability of, priority services.
Individual pharmacies who consistently provide increased availability of the common ailment service this winter will be eligible for up to £3,500 of the additional funding.
This additional funding, announced today (11 January), comes as part of a £12.5m pot which the Government is distributed across the NHS this winter to help primary and secondary care ‘recover from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, alleviate waiting times and reduce winter pressures’.
The remaining £10m will be distributed across local authorities in Wales.
When announcing the additional funding, health minister Eluned Morgan said that the money will also help pharmacies support more people to stay well without needing to see a GP.
‘The pressures on the health and social care system remains extremely challenging,’ she said.
‘We all need to work together to support our health and social care services and help us to help you this winter.
‘Simple things like visiting local pharmacies or minor injuries units for advice on minor health concerns, checking symptoms online using the NHS 111 Wales website or getting a Covid vaccine can make a high difference to our NHS and help people look after their health this winter.’
This comes one month after The Pharmacist reported that all community pharmacies in Wales will be able to offer an extended range of clinical services from this year to take the workload off GPs.
As part of the new contractual framework, more services, including treatment for common minor ailments, access to repeat medicines in an emergency, annual flu vaccinations, and emergency contraception will be available from more pharmacies across Wales.
Commenting on the announcement, Mark Griffiths, chair of Community Pharmacy Wales, said: ‘Community Pharmacy Wales is extremely grateful to the pharmacists across Wales for their vital work during the pandemic.
‘We are pleased this has been recognised through the Welsh Government’s commitment to additional funding of £2.5m to increase access to and availability of priority services.
‘We additionally welcome the funding of £3,500 to each pharmacy that provides the common ailment service, acknowledging the important role that pharmacies can play in reducing pressure on NHS services.’
Elen Jones, RPS director for Wales said: ‘We are delighted that the Welsh Government continue to recognise the value of pharmacists in patient care and we welcome this additional investment and support for community pharmacy teams across Wales.
‘We fully support the approach to enhancing patient access to primary health care by further utilising the skills and knowledge of community pharmacists. We are very pleased that these additional monies will support the flexibility and resilience of community pharmacy teams in continuing to deliver services throughout the demanding winter months.
‘Community pharmacy will continue play a pivotal role in supporting patients this winter. As always, it is vital that patients are fully informed about the range of health services available to them so they can make the right choice in accessing the right service at the right time.’