Pharmacist independent prescribers (IPs) in Wales have delivered more than 16,000 consultations since 2016, health board data has revealed.
The data was shared in an infographic created by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in Wales, with input from Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) and NHS Wales.
Of the 713 community pharmacies in Wales, 33 have delivered 16,005 consultations between them, covering acute conditions, medicines withdrawal and contraception.
The infographic breaks down the number of IP consultations by health board, number of pharmacies involved and the date that the health board began offering the service.
It shows that Dudley Taylor Pharmacy in Llanidloes, Powys — the first pharmacy to begin delivering IP services in Wales, in December 2016, and only pharmacy to do so in the Powys Teaching Health Board — has delivered 7,299 consultations alone.
The service provided by Dudley Taylor Pharmacy enables an independent prescribing pharmacist to supply certain medicines to patients registered with nearby Arwystli Medical Practice without the need to visit a GP.
‘Pharmacy: Delivering a healthier Wales’ — the long-term plan for the future of pharmacy in Wales, published in May 2019 — said that a service “similar to the Llanidloes example … will be available for patients in every community pharmacy by 2030”.
Since then, in June 2020, NHS Wales launched the Independent Prescribers’ Service, which allows pharmacist IPs to record clinical information and medicines prescribed during a ‘Choose Pharmacy’ consultation.
Meanwhile, the number of pharmacist IP training places for community pharmacists in Wales increased from 50 in 2020/2021 to 60 in 2021/2022.
Eluned Morgan, Welsh minister for health and social services, said that “significant progress has been made in expanding the number and range of prescribing services in community pharmacies in recent years”.
The data presented in the infographic, Morgan added, demonstrates “how our investment, both to support community pharmacists to train as prescribers and to fund these important services, is improving access for people across Wales”.
“Our plans for contractual reform will see very many more pharmacies offering these services in the next five years,” she said.
Judy Thomas, director of contractor services at CPW, said: “The growth in independent prescribing is making a real difference to the people of Wales as more and more community pharmacies are able to offer these services.
“The community pharmacy network is committed to the objective of all pharmacies having an independent prescriber, as detailed in ‘Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales’,” she added.
Jonathan Lloyd Jones, policy and engagement lead at RPS Wales, said that “displaying this data in such an easy-to-understand way shows not only what community pharmacy can do, but what [it is] able to do in the future”
“As the number of independent prescribers grows, the size of the numbers will expand significantly. All partners want to see the data depicted here growing significantly and are committed to collaboration to ensure this happens.”