A new public health bill for Wales — which, if passed, will require health boards to produce pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs) — was laid before the Welsh Assembly on 7 November 2016.
The Public Health (Wales) Bill would change the way health boards make decisions about NHS dispensing contracts for new pharmacies by making sure decisions about pharmaceutical services are based on an assessment of pharmaceutical need.
At present, NHS contracts for new pharmacies in Wales are issued according to the “necessary or expedient test”, essentially, only allowing a new pharmacy to open if patients are deemed not to be able to access prescriptions quickly enough. The bill will propose a system similar to that already operating in England.
By basing decisions about issuing new contracts on PNAs, potential pharmacy contractors will be able to submit applications for a new contract when they deem existing pharmacies to have failed to meet the needs of their communities.
The bill will also ban smoking in school grounds, hospital grounds and public playgrounds.
Legislation to introduce PNAs into Wales was originally included in the Public Health (Wales) Bill, which was rejected by the Welsh Assembly in March 2016 — a decision that disappointed the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Welsh Pharmacy Board.