The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in Wales has welcomed news that the Welsh government plans to invest £100m to transform health and social care services as part of the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recovery plan, published by the Welsh government on 22 March 2021, said that, during the pandemic, pharmacies had provided support “for a range of services, without appointments, particularly when GP services were seen to be under greater pressure”.
It went on to say that “developing the role of our community pharmacy in services, especially clinical services, will build on the developments we saw during the pandemic”.
The plan also notes that “we cannot look to eradicate COVID-19 in the near future, so we must learn to live and work alongside it for some time to come”.
Responding to news of the investment, Elen Jones, RPS director for Wales, welcomed “the continued support of the Welsh government in expanding the clinical role of pharmacists and in harnessing the skills of our profession in bringing care closer to people’s homes”.
“Aligning the principles and aims of the vision for Pharmacy in Wales to this national pandemic recovery plan will be essential,” she added.
“With more detail to follow, we look forward to working closely with our members, pharmacy colleagues and the Welsh government to support the steps to recovery”.
Jones highlighted that during the pandemic, pharmacists have been “supporting the huge urgent and emergency care effort, setting up and sustaining approaches to care and medicines supply in field hospitals, and ensuring continuity of pharmaceutical care in the community”.
During the most recent flu vaccination programme, Wales saw a 44% increase in the number of flu vaccines administered in community pharmacy, as well as pharmacists providing proving local leadership in COVID-19 vaccination supply in primary care and mass vaccination centres.
In addition, the Independent Prescribers’ Service, which launched in June 2020 and allows pharmacist independent prescribers to record clinical information and medicines prescribed during a ‘Choose Pharmacy’ consultation, has seen more than 2,500 consultations to date. Of patients who had received a consultation, 97% said they would have visited another healthcare provider had the service not been available in a pharmacy.