Vaughan Gething (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Community pharmacies in Wales are to get an additional funding in excess of £18m by 2023 in a three-year settlement with the Welsh government.

Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething announced in a written statement on Tuesday (June 16) that the sum had been agreed before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The multi-year agreement will provide an additional £18.3m funding for pharmacies and increase overall funding for the sector by £8.6m per year by 2022-23,” the statement added.

The three-year funding package will provide significant additional investment and long-term certainty for all pharmacies in Wales, where the government is committed to “creating truly clinical community pharmacies.”

Funding will be provided “specifically to create and support roles for a community pharmacy lead in every primary care cluster” as the government recognises that further integration of the sector with other primary care providers was critical in providing “the support the NHS, people and communities need.”

“These leads will champion the role of community pharmacies in primary care and ensure their potential is fully realised,” the statement added.

As part of the deal, the government has pledged further funding for pharmacists to train as independent prescribers and support the development of pharmacy technicians.

Community pharmacists will also be allowed greater access to the Welsh GP record so they are able to provide clinical services to support safe and effective care, amid plans to roll out Wales’ national video consultation platform to pharmacies and provide 3,000 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with access to a range of tools including NHS email, video conferencing and instant messaging, available through Office 365.

“This agreement will not only increase funding for clinical services to ensure they are consistently delivered by every pharmacy in Wales, but will also ensure that health boards can continue to improve the availability of prescribing pharmacists and truly innovative models of care like our sore throat test and treat service,” the government statement added.

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