Cynon Valley AM calls for the public to make full use of local pharmacies
Following her recent visit to Hope Pharmacy in Mountain Ash on 13 February, local AM Vikki Howells was impressed at the way community pharmacy is embracing new opportunities and encouraged her constituents to make fuller use of these facilities.
The new Choose Pharmacy IT platform being rolled out by the Welsh Government will see pharmacists take responsibility for managing a range of minor ailments, allowing people will to see their pharmacist for free treatment instead of making an appointment to see their GP, freeing up GP time to deal with people with more complex needs. Cwm Taf Health Board was the first in Wales to introduce this new platform.
Vikki Howells AM said: “I’ve long been a proponent of making better use of our health professionals, including community pharmacists. Choose Pharmacy will allow pharmacists to see a patient’s medical records so they can check that the medicine they have been prescribed is the correct dose and there is less chance of error or harm occurring. I am delighted it was actually piloted in Cynon Valley and that it has proven to be so successful it is being rolled out across the whole of Wales
“As I saw in Mountain Ash, our highly trained pharmacists can also do so much more to offer treatments to take pressure off GPs and I’m delighted the Labour Welsh Government sees this potential and will be investing heavily in protecting and enhancing our community pharmacy service in Wales. It is now up to people to change how they view and use the health service. If it’s a medicines or simple condition query, we all need to call in with our local pharmacist
The visit comes as the Conservative UK Government announced proposals to cut the funding available to community pharmacies in England. There is a planned 4% reduction in 2016-17, and over 7% in 2017-18. In contrast, the Welsh Government has re-stated its commitment to the community pharmacy sector, with £20million investment to support and enhance pharmacy services in Wales. The details of the funding announcement are currently being negotiated between the Welsh Government and Community Pharmacy Wales, but they will entail significant expansion of the number of services you can obtain in a local pharmacy. This could see every person in Wales having the same access to services in pharmacies as they do in the Cynon Valley.”
Rhodri Thomas from Community Pharmacy Wales said: “Vikki really sees the potential for using the community pharmacy network to help bring about a localised service in which the over 700 community pharmacies in Wales play a full and expanding role in delivering health care, and we are grateful for her continuing support in maximising the role pharmacists can play in providing the best possible health care.”
Photo: Vikki Howells AM with Mark Cowley of Hope Pharmacy, Mountain Ash