Under the three-year deal, an additional £18.3m will be added to the global sum for community pharmacy in Wales by 2022/23, minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething announced yesterday (June 16).
The deal, which was reached “immediately prior to the pandemic”, will offer long-term certainty to all pharmacies in Wales, Mr Gething said.
The global sum for 2020-21 will be £148.3m, rising to £151.2m in 2021-22 and £154.2m in 2022-23, a Welsh government spokesperson told C+D yesterday. The "baseline" global sum for 2019/20 is £145.7m, with a further £1.4m added in March this year, "when the agreement was reached", the spokesperson added.
Funding for clinical services
The Welsh government has “more than doubled” funding for pharmacies offering clinical services in the last three years, Mr Gething said.
Under the agreement announced yesterday, funding for clinical services will continue to increase “to ensure they are consistently delivered by every pharmacy in Wales” and that “health boards can continue to improve the availability of prescribing pharmacists and truly innovative models of care, like our sore throat test and treat service”, Mr Gething added.
Community pharmacy leads
To further integrate community pharmacy and other primary care providers, pharmacies in Wales will receive funding to “create and support roles for a community pharmacy lead in every primary care cluster”, Mr Gething said.
“These leads will champion the role of community pharmacies in primary care and ensure their potential is fully realised,” he added.
Under the agreement, funding will be allocated for pharmacists to train as independent prescribers and “to support the development of pharmacy technicians”.
The Welsh government also said it will give pharmacists offering clinical services “greater access” to the Welsh GP records and that it plans for its video consultation platform to be rolled out to pharmacies across the country.
The government will also give 3,000 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Wales “access to the range of tools – including NHS email, video conferencing and instant messaging – available through Office 365”, it said.
‘Security and stability’
Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) chief executive Russell Goodway told C+D today (June 17) that CPW is “pleased that our negotiations have led to a secure funding package for the next few years”, adding that the deal gives “security and stability to the network”.
“In Wales, the community pharmacy network is both listened to and respected, and this is demonstrated yet again in this settlement,” Mr Goodway said.
“Our negotiations with Welsh Government over reimbursement relating to additional steps taken during COVID-19 is ongoing and we are hopeful of a positive outcome there too,” he added.
In 2018-19, the Welsh government channelled an extra £1.4m to the sector, having recognised the “inflationary pressures” experienced by pharmacies.