Rebecca Evans, Assembly Member for Gower, has welcomed investment which puts health on the high street and will ease pressure on GPs and hospitals.
The AM visited Lloyds Pharmacy in Pontarddulais ahead of the roll-out of the new Choose Pharmacy scheme which will see investment in integrating community pharmacies with GPs and hospitals.
The support for pharmacies by the Welsh Labour Government is in sharp contrast to the UK Conservative Government's cut to the funding available to community pharmacies in England which came into effect at the beginning of this month. The cuts there 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, Choose Pharmacy will provide pharmacists with access to people’s individual health records. This will allow discharge information to be transferred from hospitals to a patient’s nominated community pharmacy. The service will see pharmacists 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.
Rebecca Evans said: “Choose Pharmacy shows the Welsh Government’s commitment to a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. 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."
Community Pharmacy Wales’s Chief Executive Russell Goodway said: “I am pleased to see Rebecca Evans AM championing the role of community pharmacies in her Gower constituency. 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.”