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This report presents information about community pharmacies in Wales in contract with health boards. New data is presented for the financial year 2019-20, so largely covers the period before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community pharmacies are those found in cities, towns and villages across the country, for example on high streets, in supermarkets or within GP surgeries.

While essential services such as dispensing prescriptions remain the primary role of community pharmacies, most offer a range of additional NHS services, including emergency contraception, seasonal flu vaccine, medicine use reviews, discharge medicines reviews, and common ailments service. Data for these services are summarised for 2019-20.   

The data is provided by NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (Pharmacy Services). Further information is available in the quality report.

Data included in this release is published on StatsWales.

1. Pharmacies

There has been little change in the number of community pharmacies in Wales over the past 10 years. At 31 March 2020 there were 715, compared to 708 at 31 March 2011.

In 2020, 232 (32%) were independents with the rest being chains/multiples.

2. Prescriptions

76.8 million prescriptions were dispensed in community pharmacies in 2019-20.

This is an average (mean) of 107,456 per pharmacy, and an 18% increase over the last 10 years.

More analysis on prescriptions is available in our Prescriptions in Wales statistical report.

3. Medicine use reviews

689 (or 96%) of pharmacies provided medicine use reviews in 2019-20. This has increased from 88% of pharmacies offering the service in 2010-11.

Over 180,000 claims of medicine use review were paid in 2019-20. This is an average (mean) of 262 per community pharmacy offering the service.

4. Discharge medicine reviews

518 (or 72%) of pharmacies provided discharge medicines reviews in 2019-20. This has increased from 41% of pharmacies offering the service in 2011-12 (when the service was first offered).

Almost 11,600 claims of discharge medicines review were paid in 2019-20. This is an average of 22 per community pharmacy offering the service.

5. Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception was provided on 33,269 occasions in 2019-20. This is in-line with the relatively stable long term trend.

In 2019-20, 56% of these claims were from those who had not used contraception and 22% of claims were for those aged under 20 years old.

6. Seasonal flu vaccine

64,094 people received the seasonal flu vaccine in community pharmacies 2019-20. There has been a large increase in the number of patients receiving the seasonal flu vaccine in community pharmacies since it was first offered in 2012-13, when 1,568 patients received it.

In 2019-20, 27% of those receiving the vaccine were under 65 and in ‘at risk’ groups and 17% received the seasonal flu vaccine for the first time.

Note this data only includes individuals who are eligible for a seasonal flu vaccine, funded by the NHS. It does not include any individual who has paid for a vaccine privately at the pharmacy.

7. Common ailments service

76,445 consultations were made to the common ailments service in 2019-20. The service is now available in 697 (97%) community pharmacies in Wales.

30% of consultations related to children under age 16. Almost two thirds (64%) of all consultations related to females.

1,709 people had used the common ailments service more than twice during the year.

8. Quality and methodology information

The data is provided by NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (Pharmacy Services). Further information is available in the quality report.

National Statistics status

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.

All official statistics should comply with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics. They are awarded National Statistics status following an assessment by the UK Statistics Authority’s regulatory arm. The Authority considers whether the statistics meet the highest standards of Code compliance, including the value they add to public decisions and debate.

It is Welsh Government’s responsibility to maintain compliance with the standards expected of National Statistics. If we become concerned about whether these statistics are still meeting the appropriate standards, we will discuss any concerns with the Authority promptly. National Statistics status can be removed at any point when the highest standards are not maintained, and reinstated when standards are restored.

The continued designation of these statistics as National Statistics was confirmed in June 2012 following a compliance check by the Office for Statistics. These statistics last underwent a full Regulation Statistics on Health and Personal Social Services in Wales against the Code of Practice in 2012.

Since the latest review by the Office for Statistics Regulation, we have continued to comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics, and have made the following improvements:

  • published the statistical release in html format, with more open data published on StatsWales
  • updated the quality report and refreshed commentary in the release

Well-being of Future Generations Act (WFG)

The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales. The Act puts in place seven wellbeing goals for Wales. These are for a more equal, prosperous, resilient, healthier and globally responsible Wales, with cohesive communities and a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. Under section (10)(1) of the Act, the Welsh Ministers must (a) publish indicators (“national indicators”) that must be applied for the purpose of measuring progress towards the achievement of the Well-being goals, and (b) lay a copy of the national indicators before the National Assembly. The 46 national indicators were laid in March 2016

Information on the indicators, along with narratives for each of the wellbeing goals and associated technical information is available in the Well-being of Wales report.

Further information on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The statistics included in this release could also provide supporting narrative to the national indicators and be used by public services boards in relation to their local wellbeing assessments and local wellbeing plans.

9. Contact details

Statistician: Craig Thomas
Telephone: 0300 025 1646
Email: stats.healthinfo@gov.wales

Media: 0300 025 8099

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Ystadegau Gwladol

SFR 177/2020

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