The move to add more funding – a 1% increase on the current global sum of £144.3m – was announced by minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething on Monday (April 1).
“After careful consideration, I have concluded that the inflationary pressures pharmacies are experiencing are a risk to us realising the potential of community pharmacy to improve health and wellbeing,” Mr Gething said.
The minister said the extra money “will also secure further changes to the contractual arrangements in 2019-20, to improve quality, medicines safety and the availability of new and innovative services from pharmacies and which take pressure off other parts of the NHS”.
CPW: Contractors will be disappointed
Mr Gething said he had given “careful consideration” to warnings he received “earlier this year” from Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW).
“CPW made representations to me regarding concerns that the community pharmacy sector was facing a range of financial and regulatory pressures which, if not addressed, could slow the rate of transformation,” he said.
In a document to contractors sent before the announcement – a copy of which C+D has seen – CPW explained the increase would result in a single payment to each Welsh pharmacy of “some £1,600”.
This is “far short” of what CPW had requested and “contractors will be disappointed”, it added.
The Welsh government have not guaranteed the 2019-20 contract will include the 1% rise, but CPW will “press the case for a significant increase”, the negotiator said.
RPS: Funding will support patient access
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Welsh pharmacy board chair Suzanne Scott-Thomas said the funding “will support patient access to appropriate care in the community and make medicines use safer in Wales”.
“We recognise that radical and sustainable transformation of care can only be achieved through investment in new and innovative services, above and beyond the existing allocation of resources,” Ms Scott-Thomas added.
Welsh community pharmacies received £144.3m funding for 2017-18, an increase on the £140.4m for 2016-17.
C+D has asked the Welsh government and CPW for further comment.