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Community pharmacies in Wales pilot video consultation service

Pharmacists will be able to offer video consultations for common ailments and emergency contraception
Pharmacists will be able to offer video consultations for common ailments and emergency contraception

Video consultations are being piloted in Welsh community pharmacies this month to help the sector support patients following an “increase in demand for additional services”.

In a statement yesterday (7 July), the Welsh government said that following 6,400 GP video consultations in Wales, which have “helped to transform how people access healthcare services during the COVID-19 response”, an NHS pilot will see them extended to pharmacies.

The service will enable community pharmacies to “provide advice for common ailments and emergency contraception services”, according to the government.

It will initially pilot in 15 to 20 pharmacies, and a report will be “ready by August”, a spokesperson for the Welsh government told C+D today. The scheme is set to be “fully rolled out by the end of October”, they said.

Pharmacies will also be able to virtually conduct discharge medicines reviews and “give support for people who want to stop smoking,” it added.

Welsh minister for health and social services, Vaughan Gething, said the COVID-19 pandemic has “meant that we have had to rapidly expand and adapt services”.

But the use of technology “has always been a key part” of the government’s plan to make  the country healthier, he added.

CPW “strongly supportive of the rollout”

Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) is “strongly supportive of the rollout of a secure user-friendly virtual consultation platform co-designed by pharmacists for use across the entire community pharmacy network”, a spokesperson told C+D yesterday.

The service will enable “community pharmacists to continue to support patients despite the challenges of social distancing”, they added.

“This approach builds on the increasing practice of people connecting via the internet rather than in person while recognising the need to protect the important personal relationship that patients have with their local community pharmacist [and] ensure the delivery of consistent advice when given remotely,” the spokesperson said.

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