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Welsh government to take 'different approach' to pharmacy

Minster Vaughan Gething reiterated his promise that Wales will not see pharmacy funding cuts

Pharmacists in Wales will be “rewarded” for promoting good quality clinical services and improved medicines safety, the country’s health minister has said.

Minister for health and wellbeing Vaughan Gething said the government expects the Welsh community pharmacy contract to prioritise services over dispensing volume.

“We’re recognising that it’s about quality, not just quantity,” he told delegates at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Wales’s annual medicines safety conference on November 3.

Mr Gething reiterated his promise to Welsh pharmacists last month that the sector’s global sum will not be cut, but stressed it will take a “different approach” to funding in the future.

“We’re not following [Prime Minister Theresa May] in England by making significant cuts to the community pharmacy budget,” he said.

However, Welsh pharmacists will have to “adapt” to providing not only a clinical service, but an improvement in safety and quality, he told delegates.

In his funding assurances to contractors last month, Mr Gething said this could include “new arrangements”, such as Choose Pharmacy – Wales’s minor ailments scheme, currently being rolled out across the country.

Any changes to community pharmacy in Wales will not “happen overnight”, Mr Gething stressed to delegates at the RPS event. Instead, he predicted that Welsh community pharmacy will make “really good improvements” in the access to, and quality of, pharmacy services from April 2017.

“This is an exciting place to be,” he said at the conference. “But there’s no room for complacency for us, given the ever-increasing use of prescribed medicines to manage long term conditions.”

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