Will Wales follow England's lead with pharmacy funding cuts?
Cuts to funding in England provides the Welsh government an "opportunity to reflect" on its own investment in community pharmacy, a health minister has said.
Cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport Vaughan Gething reassured pharmacists in his country that the government has no current plans to reduce community pharmacy funding, despite England's pharmacy budget being cut by £113 million from December.
However, the "changes" in England provide an opportunity to reflect on whether the "considerable investment" the Welsh government makes in the sector "will meet the needs of people in Wales in future", he said in a statement on the day the cut was finalised (October 20).
Mr Gething acknowledged that English funding cuts, would be “of concern” to Welsh pharmacists, because the community pharmacy contract has been the same for Wales and England since 2005.
But he clarified that the Welsh health and social services budget does not include proposals to reduce community pharmacy funding.
Maintaining current funding levels will be “conditional” on the sector in Wales complying with “new arrangements” from April 2017, including providing more and improved clinical services, reducing medicines waste and using automation to free up pharmacists’ time, Mr Gething stressed.
The government will consult Community Pharmacy Wales over the plans, and Mr Gething will make a further statement once this consultation ends, he added.