Pharmacists in Wales are to receive extra training in minor ailments as part of a scheme worth £100,000, the government has announced.
The funding package will enable 50 pharmacists to undertake training delivered by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), which will focus on managing minor ailments, traditionally not included in initial pharmacy training
The Welsh government said in a statement that an estimated 5% of hospital emergency department consultations and 13% of GP consultations are being taken by people who have acute minor ailments that could have been managed by pharmacists.
Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health secretary, said: “There is increasing potential for pharmacists to be seen beyond their traditional role of dispensing medicines.
“Our commitment, backed with significant new funding this year for training and continuing professional development, will ensure a sustainable and appropriately trained pharmacy workforce in Wales. It will also offer pharmacists more varied and professionally rewarding careers.”
The Welsh government announced in April 2019 that it plans to increase the number of pharmacy training placements from 120 to 200 by 2023, with nearly £5m in extra funding that would also be used to modernise the training programme for pharmacists, putting them in clinical placements in a wider range of settings.
Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, said: “It is important that we continue to respond to the changing needs of both the people of Wales and our healthcare system.
“Seeing the right person at the right time, to help them to stay fit and well, lies at the heart of that.”
In a similar programme to the one announced in April 2019 for trainee pharmacists, pharmacy technicians have now also been given the chance to train in a broader range of settings.
A pilot programme in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board enables pharmacy technicians undertaking the two-year preregistration pharmacy technician training programme to train in hospitals, community pharmacies and general practices.
The pilot is structured so that every week trainees have one study day, spend two days training in a hospital, and spend two days training in a community pharmacy. In their second-year, students also complete a six-week primary care placement.
Wendy Penny, head of pharmacy technician training at HEIW, said: “Supporting pharmacy technicians to train across three pharmacy sectors will lead to a more sustainable and flexible workforce who understand the patient journey across healthcare settings.”