Vaughan Gething, cabinet secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport in the Welsh Assembly Government, has reassured pharmacy contractors in Wales that there are no plans to reduce investment in the sector following the cuts announced last week in England. However, in the longer term, maintaining current funding levels will be “conditional on new arrangements” for community pharmacies.
In a written statement to Assembly members issued on October 20, he said the community pharmacy sector in Wales is a fundamental part of a strong primary care service. “I understand the cuts in England are of concern for pharmacy contractors in Wales. Let me reassure you, the health and social services budget in Wales for the current and next financial year does not include any proposals to reduce investment in community pharmacy."
However, changes to the contractual framework for England and Wales provide an opportunity to reflect on whether the “considerable investment” made in the sector currently delivers a community pharmacy service that meets the needs of the people in Wales, he said.
Any new arrangements must ensure that community pharmacies provide a greater range of clinically-focused services; demonstrate a commitment to improving service quality; contribute to reducing medicines waste; utilise skill mix and automation more effectively to release time for pharmacists to deliver pharmaceutical care, both in and out of the pharmacy; and commit to workforce development and improvements in IT infrastructure.
Consultations with Community Pharmacy Wales will take place on how the sector will begin the transition to a more clinically focused service from April 2017. A further statement will be issued to Welsh Assembly members once the consultation has concluded.
The health and social services budget does not include proposals to reduce community pharmacy investment