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A new five year plan set to revolutionise hospital pharmacy services in Wales has been agreed by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething.

First published:
17 March 2021
Last updated:

The plan will transform how some of the most innovative and life-saving medicines including cancer therapies, intravenous antibiotics and parenteral nutrition, are prepared.

The Transforming Access to Medicines programme is a five year plan, which the Minister has asked NHS Wales Shares Services Partnership (NWSSP) to develop business case for with an indicative funding requirement of £67m.

The sterile preparation of medicines also known as aseptic services is a speciality area within hospital pharmacy services. Aseptic Services are responsible for the development, preparation and supply of unique patient-centred medicines, including the preparation of injectable systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT), preparation of parenteral (intravenous) nutrition for people whose medical condition mean they are unable to absorb nutrients from the food they eat, and radio-pharmaceuticals used in diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

With the advances in medicines that deliver improved outcomes for patients, demand for these critical services have been growing. Currently, much of this work is undertaken in hospitals throughout Wales. 

In order to expand services NWSSP will develop business cases for the creation of three new integrated regional facilities based in North, South West and South East Wales. Whilst the exact funding required will be confirmed as the business cases are developed, an indicative funding requirement of £67m has been identified.

The three regional facilities will increase NHS Wales’ capacity and capability to prepare the medicines people need and will allow the NHS to capitalise on advances in technology and automation improving patient safety and freeing up nurses’ time for patient care.  

Alongside the new facilities, the investment will support transforming the workforce, creating new skilled jobs and boosting productivity. The funding will also create opportunities for collaborations between the NHS and universities supporting clinical trials and research into the development of innovative products that allow medicines to be given at or closer to people’s homes, rather than in hospital. 

Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said:

The regional facilities will be the first of their kind in the UK and will deliver huge benefits, not only for existing medical treatments but also enabling development and research for new treatments. The funding will invest in the future workforce and develop vital skills for a service that is seeing increasing demand. The plans announced today will further support the access to innovative medicines patients in Wales have through our New Treatment Fund and will bolster our commitment to ensure people across Wales have prompt access to the latest and best treatments.

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) Managing Director Neil Frow:

I welcome the Minister confirming his support for this ambitious programme which is a significant investment over the next 5 years. It is a fantastic example of how Health Boards and Trusts are coming together through the Shared Services Partnership to collaborate on delivering improvements for patients in Wales. Over the next few years the development of new hubs will play a key role in developing the capacity and capability to meet the current and future needs of the service.