Speaking at the Welsh Pharmacy Conference today Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced a £100,000 funding package for pharmacist training.
Making the announcement of additional funding, the minister emphasised the importance of ensuring that the pharmacy workforce has the right skills to deliver A Healthier Wales, Welsh Government’s long-term plan for health and social services.
The new backing will fund specialist clinical skills training for 50 pharmacists across Wales, to be delivered by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW). It will focus on managing minor ailments, traditionally not included in initial pharmacy training.
With growing pressure on primary care services, pharmacists are playing an increasingly important role in community healthcare. It is estimated that 5% of emergency department consultations, and 13% of GP consultations, are for acute minor ailments that could have been managed by pharmacists.
As a result of this training, more people will have direct access to services closer to home, at a time to suit them – a key pillar of A Healthier Wales. It will also free up GP time to manage more complex patient cases.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:
“I welcome the efforts of Welsh pharmacy professionals in working to ensure that pharmacies meet the changing healthcare needs of the people of Wales. There is increasing potential for pharmacists to be seen beyond their traditional role of dispensing medicines. This focussed training on minor ailments will directly benefit patients by freeing up GP time. Our commitment, backed with significant new funding this year for training and continuing professional development, will ensure a sustainable and appropriately-trained pharmacy workforce in Wales. It will also offer pharmacists more varied and professionally rewarding careers.”
Andrew Evans, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales, said:
“The Welsh Government and the profession have already achieved a great deal through working together. It is important that we continue to respond to the changing needs both of the people of Wales and our healthcare system. Seeing the right person, at the right time, to help them to stay fit and well, lies at the heart of that.”
The Health Minister also welcomed the Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee’s report ‘Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales’. The report sets out how the unique skills of pharmacy professionals in Wales could be used to improve health wellbeing and prevention, enabling the people of Wales to get the most from their medicines. Thanking the Committee for their important work, Mr Gething said the Welsh Government would now consider the proposals over the summer and work with the profession in taking forward this ambitious plan.
In April Mr Gething announced an extra £3.6 million in 2020/21 to transform the way pharmacists are trained in Wales. The money, rising to an additional £4.9 million by 2023/24, will almost double the number of training places from around 100 each year now to 200 by August 2023. The announcement coincided with the launch of the pharmacy phase of Welsh Government’s Train, Work, Live campaign aimed at promoting Wales as a top choice for pharmacists.