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Emergency review of community pharmacy services in Northern Ireland announced

Northern Ireland’s Department of Health (DoH) is launching an emergency review into community pharmacy services in the country.

The review was announced on November 18, according to the DoH website, in "light of the ongoing pressures facing the sector".

The review will aim to see what services can be provided this winter after community pharmacy representatives in Northern Ireland raised concerns about rising costs.

The DoH says there has been a constructive approach in Northern Ireland over the last three years and that in 2019/20 and 2021/22 significant investment was made in the sector.

A three-year commissioning plan for 2022-2025 has now been agreed which will provide community pharmacies with £7 million worth of health and social care services.

The plan includes a 'Pharmacy First' style service as well as £3.5m for vaccination services and other medicine adherence.

Read more: Northern Ireland CPhO encourages patients to use Pharmacy First service

In addition, the DoH has announced another financial package worth over £5.3m.

But community pharmacy representatives have said this is not enough.

So far this autumn pharmacists have repeatedly said that shortages and sky-rocketing prices of drugs may mean they are no longer able to supply them.

The DoH’s Permanent Secretary, Peter May has offered to meet with Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland to discuss the problems the sector is facing this week.

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