This week the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPO) for Wales, Andrew Evans, gave an upbeat assessment of the direction being taken by community pharmacies in Wales.
The CPO’s remarks were made as the NPA board met in Cardiff last week to consider long-term strategy and to meet Welsh members and CPW for informal discussions.
He highlighted the special affection that communities across Wales hold for their local pharmacies. Addressing the NPA board and Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW), gathered together 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. Pharmacists should focus on those things that only pharmacists can do, making the most of their clinical skills to deliver better outcomes from dispensed medicines and improve medicines safety.
“In the future, people will still come to community pharmacy for their medicines, but only if clinical services are the focus of the interaction. We are part way through a five year transition in community pharmacy contract. The short-term focus is on urgent and unscheduled care, the national common ailments service, the introduction of pilots of rapid antigen testing for bacterial sore throat, and establishing pathfinder sites to deliver independent prescribing from community pharmacies all support improving access to care.
“To realise pharmacy’s potential for the longer term, we must also define community pharmacy’s contribution to medicines optimisation and the prevention agenda.”
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.
Commenting on the transition of the pharmacy contract in Wales, CPW chief executive Russell Goodway 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.”
The event was hosted by the NPA whose chair, Nitin Sodha, said:
“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.”