Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
During the pandemic, Wales’ community pharmacy network has played a vital role in supporting people throughout Wales, while also supporting NHS services – GP practices and hospitals – and other public services.
Last year, as a precursor to contractual reforms, we agreed Wales’ first ever multi-year funding agreement for the community pharmacy sector. The agreement provided much needed certainty for pharmacy owners and locked in the continuation of our reforms to ensure community pharmacy services meet the needs of people in Wales now and in the future.
Negotiations with Community Pharmacy Wales, the representative body for community pharmacies in Wales, have concluded and we have reached agreement on wide reaching reform of contractual arrangements for the community pharmacy sector in Wales.
I welcome the positive approach to negotiations taken by Community Pharmacy Wales, embracing our ambition for a reimagined community pharmacy service, which is an integral part of a strong primary care landscape.
The new contractual framework will enable every community pharmacy in Wales to provide an extended range of clinical services, available consistently across the country, offering convenient, accessible NHS services to more people, closer to their homes.
The new arrangements recognise and reward pharmacies, which understand, share and deliver our longer-term ambition to provide effective, high-quality, sustainable healthcare.
Building on the significant progress made in recent years, from April 2022 we will:
- Introduce a new comprehensive clinical community pharmacy service, which will raise the bar on what people in Wales can expect from their local pharmacy. This nationally commissioned service will enable all pharmacies in Wales to provide services for common ailments, emergency contraception, emergency medicine supply and seasonal influenza vaccination. Any pharmacy wishing to provide one of these services must now offer them all.
- Expand the emergency contraception service so every pharmacy can provide rapid access to bridging and quick start contraception;
- Increase funding for the provision of clinical services from their current level of £11.4m to £20m a year by April 2024. This will support the expanded clinical community pharmacy service and the provision of existing and new innovative services by health boards to meet local needs;
- Introduce a new national independent prescribing service allowing all pharmacist prescribers to treat an extended range of ailments, such as acute infections and provide access to regular ongoing contraception.
These changes will be underpinned by measures to increase capacity within community pharmacies to deliver NHS services more effectively. This includes reforms to funding arrangements that will encourage and reward clinical service provision; continued investment in integrating pharmacies into primary care clusters; further development of the scope and skills of the community pharmacy workforce, and in the Choose Pharmacy IT system.
The reforms agreed today represent the most fundamental change to the way pharmacies operate since the inception of the NHS more than 70 years ago.
This new prescription for community pharmacy sets out a collaborative, innovative and progressive approach to the delivery of pharmaceutical care. By maximising the impact of community pharmacy, we will be able to better meet the healthcare needs of people across Wales closer to home.