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COMMUNITY PHARMACIES WELCOME WELSH GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT IN NEW WALES-WIDE “CHOOSE PHARMACY” IT PLATFORM AS LOCAL PHARMACIES SET TO BECOME FIRST PORT OF CALL FOR COMMON AILMENTS.

Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) has welcomed today’s Welsh Government announcement (7 March 2016) of a new community pharmacy based national NHS common ailments service which Welsh Health Boards will be able to deliver through community pharmacies across Wales.

Today’s Welsh Government announcement includes an investment of £750,000 in an innovative community pharmacy IT platform which will be able to support the delivery of the common ailments service and other community pharmacy services under the banner “Choose Pharmacy”. The IT investment is one of a number of projects being funded by Welsh Government’s “Efficiency Through Technology Fund”.

The NHS Wales “Choose Pharmacy” service will be based on two successful pathfinder schemes that have been operating in 32 pharmacies in Cynon Valley and Gwynedd. In addition to the common ailments service, the Choose Pharmacy platform will facilitate the electronic transfer of information regarding a patients medicines when they are discharged from hospital as well as enabling pharmacies to provide emergency supplies of medicines avoiding the need for patients to visit Out of Hours or A & E services.  It will also allow patients to give permission for the pharmacist to have access to their Individual Health Record to ensure that they receive the most appropriate treatment for their condition.

Russell Goodway, Chief Executive at CPW said “The announcement today paves the way for the transformation of the Wales based community pharmacies into a network of health centres located in every community in Wales utilising the clinical expertise of highly trained pharmacists who are amongst the most qualified health professionals working for the NHS.

“The entire Wales based community pharmacy network will be delighted to learn that Welsh Government has decided that community pharmacy should become the first port call for patients suffering from common ailments and self-limiting conditions as means of easing pressure on GP surgeries.”

He added ”This development will benefit the entire primary care network in Wales as it will enable patients to choose to go to their local pharmacy to access free treatment for a range of common ailments and self-limiting conditions without the need to make an appointment and thus  reducing the pressure on GP surgeries allowing family doctors more time to deal with patients suffering from more serious illnesses. They can be reassured that should the pharmacist feel that patients need to be seen by a doctor or an optician or even attend hospital then they will be advised to do so and signposted to the most appropriate clinician.

Russell Goodway also paid tribute to the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) whose team has developed the new IT platform.  He said that CPW will now work with Welsh Government, NWIS and the Health Boards to do what is necessary to secure the earliest possible roll out of these services to all 716 community pharmacies in Wales”.