The chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, Andrew Evans, has given an upbeat assessment of the direction being taken by community pharmacies in Wales and highlighted the special affection that communities across Wales hold for their local pharmacies.
Addressing the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) board and Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW), in Cardiff, Mr Evans said: “The NHS is after quality and value, and I’m confident that community pharmacy in Wales can deliver that. Workforce development is key to progress, alongside collaboration, continuity of care, capacity and responsiveness to changing consumer behaviours.”
In order to realise pharmacy’s potential for the longer term in Wales, Mr Evans explained the need to “define community pharmacy’s contribution to medicines optimisation and the prevention agenda” and said that “in the future, people will still come to community pharmacy for their medicines, but only if clinical services are the focus of the interaction”.
Mr Evans added that independent community pharmacies have a special part to play in “building community” across Wales, which is a priority for the Welsh Government.
Community pharmacy in Wales is facing significant challenges and opportunities in the months and years ahead according to Steve Anderson, managing director of Phoenix UK.
Mr Anderson highlighted that “unprecedented and painful funding cuts in England should not – must not – dictate how pharmacy patient care is provided in Wales” and that “funding will increasingly be directed at service provision rather than prescription volume”. We must not be reticent to turn a challenge into an opportunity, he added.
Mr Anderson also said that changes would require upskilling, new ways of working with other healthcare professionals and ensuring personal service continuity, but said that he was “optimistic about the future for community pharmacy in Wales – change is going to happen so let us embrace it and make it work in our best interests and those of the local communities we serve”.
Commenting on the five-year transition in the pharmacy contract in Wales, which is currently part way through, Russell Goodway, chief executive, Community Pharmacy Wales, said: “Change takes courage, but we are up for a radically new offer, not merely an improvement on the current offer. In Wales we have the right spirit of working collaboratively with one another and we can make this happen, together.”
Nitin Sodha, National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chair has commented that NPA members across Wales provide invaluable access to care, professional support, and are highly trusted. “Collaborative leadership in Wales has been a spur to many positive outcomes that benefit patients, and long may it continue,” he added.