Wales has begun the rolled-out of a community pharmacy prescribing service as part of reforms agreed by the Welsh health minister last December.
Eluned Morgan approved wide-ranging changes following re-negotiation of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework with Community Pharmacy Wales, the representative body for community pharmacies in Wales.
The roll out will allow appropriately trained community pharmacists to treat an extended range of conditions that currently require people to visit their GP.
Initially pharmacist prescribers will be able to prescribe medicines, including antibiotics for acute illnesses like urinary tract and upper respiratory tract infections, and also prescribe routine contraception.
The first of its kind in the UK, the service is being rolled out progressively across Wales, building on local schemes which are already in place.
Scotland has adopted a similar approach by launching ‘Pharmacy Frist Plus’, with England and Northern Ireland are lagging far behind.
“Our ‘new prescription’ for community pharmacy sets out a collaborative, innovative and progressive approach to the delivery of pharmaceutical care,” Morgan said at the time approving the changes.
In addition to the reforms, the Welsh Government has provided funding for community pharmacies to implement innovative automated systems such as dispensing robots and 24×7 prescription collection points, aiming to make pharmacies more efficient and freeing them up to run clinical services.