Pharmacists to help alleviate pressure on Welsh GPs

Patients in Wales should use pharmacies as their “first port of call” to easy the demand on GPs.

From April 2022, a wider range of services such as: Advice, flue jabs and emergency contraception, will be made available via the pharmacy rather than having to visit the GP.

Judy Thomas, Community Pharamacy Wales  said: "It will take the workload away from the GPs, making the NHS more sustainable and letting them treat the common and acute conditions,

"I think the public will be quite receptive. Their response during the pandemic has been positive.

"We kept our doors open to the general public and they really appreciated it and started to see the pharmacist as a first port of call."

From April 2024 independent prescribing services will see an increase in funding, adding an additional £19 million and community pharmacies will receive a further £8.6 million.

Pharmacists will be able to prescribe medicines for ailments that people would typically visit their doctor for such as urinary tract infections and routine contraception.

Health Minister, Eluned Morgan said: “The reforms to the community pharmacy contractual framework represent the most fundamental change to the way pharmacies operate since the inception of the NHS more than 70 years ago.

“Our ‘new prescription’ for community pharmacy sets out a collaborative, innovative and progressive approach to the delivery of pharmaceutical care. Pharmacists are experts in medicines and undertake extensive training to help people manage a range of common ailments. Utilising the skills of community pharmacy teams will mean we are able to better meet the needs of the NHS and people in Wales now and for future generations.

“We are always looking for innovative ways for our health service to improve services for patients and these substantial reforms will help pharmacies better meet the changing expectations of Welsh citizens and the NHS.”

The Welsh Government have also invested nearly half a million pounds into innovative technologies within pharmacies such as dispensing robots and ATM style prescription systems, allowing patients to pick up their medication 24 hours a day.

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