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Extra £2.5m for pharmacies in Wales to relieve COVID-19 pressures

Pharmacies in Wales will benefit from an extra £2.5 million in funding to improve access to pharmacy treatment and advice and help them cope with COVID-19 pressures, the Welsh government has announced.

This fresh stream of money comes from a £12.5 million pot the government has allocated to ease hospital and workforce pressures within community services and social care, the Welsh government wrote in a statement today (January 11).

A government spokesperson confirmed to C+D that the £2.5m share for pharmacies is additional funding on top of that agreed for the current contractual year.

The funding aims “to support people to live independently following a hospital stay” and “help pharmacies support more people to stay well without needing to see a GP”, the government added..

It will go towards “improving access to treatment and advice for a range of common ailments” and encouraging patients to visit community pharmacies, thus reducing pressures on GPs and other NHS services, it continued.

 

Up to £3,500 for pharmacies offering national clinical service

 

The government will also make “up to £3,500” available to pharmacies providing the national ailment service this winter, Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) wrote in a statement welcoming the funding.

Visiting pharmacies for advice on minor health concerns “can make a high difference to our NHS and help people look after their health this winter”, minister for health and social services Eluned Morgan said in today’s announcement.

 

CPW welcomes fresh support to pharmacies

 

CPW chair Mark Griffiths said the government’s investment recognises pharmacists’ “vital work” and will “increase access to and availability of priority services”, such as the common ailment service.

The organisation pointed at the sector’s recent accomplishments, such as delivering 92% more flu vaccines by the end of December 2021 compared to the year before and providing 283,047 kits to patients in the same month despite concern over shortages.

The common ailments service has seen a 66% increase in uptake during the pandemic – as of November 2021, compared to November 2019 – a CPW spokesperson told C+D today.

The Welsh government and CPW announced “significant reforms” to the three-year community pharmacy contract in December last year, under which funding to the new community pharmacy clinical service is expected to increase to £20 million per year by 2024.

 

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