Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann has announced his support for a service commissioning plan for community pharmacies in 2021-22.
The plan was agreed by the Department of Health working with the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and sector negotiator Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland (CPNI).
It focuses on services relating to the safe supply and use of medicines, vaccinations, minor ailments, and support for care home and end of life patients. It will also include services based on activities that promote physical and mental health in the community.
Following a meeting yesterday (April 19) with the HSCB and CPNI, Mr Swann said the 2021-22 plan “builds on the agreement reached on last year and provides a coherent structure for the provision of community pharmacy services over the next 12 months”.
He said pharmacies “have been playing a pivotal role in delivering health services to communities in Northern Ireland during the pandemic,” commenting on the “very high level of public confidence in the professionalism and dedication shown by community pharmacies”.
CPNI chief Gerard Greene said: “Community pharmacy will play a central role in the rebuilding of the health service as we start to emerge from Covid and it is significant to have ministerial, health service and community pharmacy support for this as well. This is another positive day for patients and the services they will receive from their local community pharmacy.”
Chief pharmaceutical officer Cathy Harrison said: “Community pharmacies are the most accessible part of our health and social care service. This year’s agreement recognises the valued contribution that pharmacists and pharmacy staff in local communities have made and continue to make to the Covid pandemic response and recovery. Its delivery will help ensure that the public will be able to avail of high quality professional advice and services from pharmacies across Northern Ireland.”
Joe Brogan, head of pharmacy and medicines management at the HSCB said: “Through the 2021-22 commissioning plan we have agreed, we wish to expand and develop services that not only respond to the health needs of our community but also develop interventions which improve health and wellbeing using the excellent resource that we have in our pharmacies.”