Pharmacists across Wales have been promised a national common ailments service and access to patient records.
As part of the Choose Pharmacy scheme, which will be rolled out across every health board from later this year, pharmacists will take responsibility for managing patients' minor ailments, including coughs, colds and ear ache, the government announced yesterday (March 7).
Pharmacists will be funded to recruit patients to this scheme, and record the consultations on a new £750,000 IT system, the government said. Other Welsh pharmacies will then be able to access this information, it said.
Through the IT system, launching later this year, pharmacists will have access to a patient's GP record if given consent, the government said.
Pharmacists will be able to see patients' hospital discharge notes on the new IT system, enabling them to conduct electronic medicines reviews of these patients, it said.
The scheme also allows pharmacists to provide an emergency supply service at evenings and on weekends.
A Choose Pharmacy scheme focused on the minor ailments service was successfully piloted across two Welsh health boards in 2013 (see left).
Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) chief executive Russell Goodway said the announcement "paves the way for the transformation of [Welsh] community pharmacies into a network of health centres". CPW will work with the government to ensure the "earliest possible rollout" of the scheme, he added.
Welsh deputy health minister Vaughan Gething said giving pharmacists access to patient records will improve patient saftety and reduce both GP appointments and A&E admissions.
England left "isolated"
National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chairman Ian Strachan said the announcement leaves England “isolated” as the only UK country without a national minor ailments scheme.
“I hope the announcement in Wales will prompt ministers and officials in England to think again about their plans for disinvestment in the pharmacy front line,” he said.