Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
I recognise that a strong community pharmacy sector is a fundamental part of a strong primary care service. In contrast to the position in England, where pharmacies have been faced with significant cuts to funding, closures and a failure of the Government in England to recognise the sector’s value, in Wales we have maintained our investment in these vital community assets.
Since 2016, my officials have been working with Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) to transform the contractual arrangements for community pharmacies and to deliver our aspiration for a community pharmacy service able to meet the needs of citizens in Wales, now and in the future. We have made significant progress towards that aspiration which will continue in 2019-20.
Earlier this year CPW made representations to me regarding concerns that the community pharmacy sector was facing a range of financial and regulatory pressures which, if not addressed, could slow the rate of transformation. After careful consideration I have concluded that the inflationary pressures pharmacies are experiencing are a risk to us realising the potential of community pharmacy to improve health and wellbeing. I am therefore pleased to inform Assembly Members that I have agreed an increase in community pharmacy funding of £1.4m in 2018-19. The additional funding will also secure further changes to the contractual arrangements in 2019-20 to improve quality, medicines safety and the availability of new and innovative services from pharmacies and which take pressure off other parts of the NHS.