Pontypridd AM Welcomes Government investment to Keep Health on the High Street
Pontypridd Assembly Member Mick Antoniw recently visited Sheppards Pharmacy in Rhydfelen to experience the Choose Pharmacy IT programme roll-out. The scheme will see investment in integrating community pharmacies with GPs and hospitals. The service will provide pharmacists with access to people’s individual health records and help discharge information to be transferred from hospitals to a patient’s nominated community pharmacy.
The support for pharmacies by the Welsh Labour Government is in sharp contrast to the UK Conservative Government’s plans to cut the funding available to community pharmacies in England from 1 December 2016. The cuts amount to a reduction of four pent to the sector in England in 2016-17 and over seven per cent in 2017-18.
In Wales, there will be no funding cut but instead the money will be used to enable pharmacists to take responsibility for managing a range of minor ailments. People will be able to see their pharmacist for free treatment instead of making an appointment to see their GP. The scheme will help to free up GP time to deal with people with more complex needs. Currently almost a fifth of GPs’ workload and eight per cent of emergency department consultations are estimated to relate to minor ailments, such as coughs, colds, ear ache, hay fever and conjunctivitis.
Mick Antoniw said: “Both the funding commitment in Wales and the Choose Pharmacy platform show the Welsh Government’s commitment to a health on the high street. It makes accessing the appropriate care easier and closer to home for patients, and frees up more time for GPs and hospitals to deal with health issues that only they can deal with.
“As a former member of the Health Committee in the Assembly, I’ve taken a long term interest in making fuller use of our pharmacies and also took the opportunity to have my blood pressure checked when I visited Sheppards. Cwm Taf Health Board is leading the way in commissioning services from pharmacies in Wales and we all need to change our behaviour and use local pharmacies for more local health services.”
Community Pharmacy Wales’ Rhodri Thomas said: “Mick Antoniw understands the social and economic value of community pharmacy and has always shown himself to be a real progressive when it comes to championing their use. By thinking creatively together pharmacists and politicians can make a real difference to how people access health care conveniently and close to home over the next few years. Wales can offer the best high street based health care anywhere in the UK.”
Photo- Mick Antoniw AM with Jordan Jones from Sheppards Pharmacy in Rhydfelen