Vaughan Gething , Health Minister for Wales (Photo courtesy: twitter/Vaughan Gething AM)

The Welsh government today announced a package of measures to boost the country’s pharmacy workforce.

An extra £3.6 million in 2020/21 would go to transform the pharmacy training, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said. This would increase to £4.9 million by 2023/24.

The minister announced an increase in the number of training places from around 100 each year now to 200 by August 2023. A new government campaign to promote Wales as a ‘top choice’ location for pharmacists was also launched.

“Pharmacists play an increasingly important role in the delivery of healthcare in Wales. We have made great strides in Wales with pharmacists providing advice and treatment, reducing the burden on our GPs,” the minister said.

For the first time in the UK, all trainees will be employed and trained by the NHS, regardless of whether they complete the majority of their training in a community pharmacy, a hospital, or a GP practice.

“We want trainees to know that Wales is a fabulous place to do their training with consistently high pass rates in the pre-registration examination and we want to attract the highest calibre of pharmacy graduates,” Andrew Evans, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales commented.

The Welsh Pharmacy Board also welcomed the government’s decision.

“Today’s announcement will put us on an exciting course of action to attract more pharmacists to train and work in Wales and to ensure a sound foundation for pharmacists through multi-sector experience across the NHS,” Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board, said.