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NI announces £8m for pharmacy service alongside commissioning roadmap

Pharmacy News

NI announces £8m for pharmacy service alongside commissioning roadmap

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann has today announced that the community pharmacy sector is to receive £8m in additional investment to support a new service.

The money will go towards the “phased introduction” of a medicines adherence service targeted at patients who may be at high risk if they fail to take their medicines as prescribed.

This follows talks between the Department of Health, the Health and Social Care Board and sector negotiator Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland.

The department said the service “will be introduced in phases over the coming months to allow a standard approach for new patients who need access to additional support,” adding that the first phase will focus on those being discharged from hospital with complex needs around their medication.

Mr Swann said the £8m investment in the adherence service would “immediately benefit those patients being discharged from hospital with complex medication needs”.

This was announced alongside a new commissioning plan for Northern Ireland’s community pharmacies for the next three years, which – subject to funding being in place – will see the development of a care home service and hypertension service.

It will also see an expansion of the Pharmacy First service to include consultations around emergency hormonal contraception, as well as an investment in IT infrastructure to help ensure pharmacies have access to patient records.

CPNI chief Gerard Greene said: “This is a welcome and much needed investment in community pharmacy. It comes after two years of a pandemic, where we have clearly seen how important community pharmacy is in supporting patients and enabling them to access a vital health service. 

“The minister’s commitment to a new three-year commissioning plan gives us more certainty and will mean we can now develop and plan new services.”

Joe Brogan, head of pharmacy at the HSCB, said: “We very much value how pharmacy staff responded to the needs of our communities and recognise the challenges that were faced.

“Learning from this, we have jointly developed a three-year commissioning plan which prioritises and seeks to extend clinical services from community pharmacies.”

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