MORE than 60 pharmacies in Wales could provide independent prescribing services under health board plans
This is according to The Pharmaceutical Journal.
Health boards in Wales are planning to commission 40 community pharmacies to provide the ‘Choose Pharmacy’ independent prescribing service during winter 2021 and into 2022.
This is in addition to 22 pharmacies that have already been commissioned to provide the service since its expansion on November 1.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has revealed that the number of pharmacies providing an NHS independent prescriber service under their remit will increase from 11 to 25.
The enhanced service, provided by Independent Prescribing Pharmacists, enables pharmacies people to be prescribed medication, such as antibiotics, which has traditionally only been possible through GPs and certain other medical professionals.
Jenny White, pharmacist from the Rhosneigr Pharmacy on Anglesey, is among those who will offer the enhanced service when she qualifies in the coming weeks.
“The benefit of community pharmacy is that people can access healthcare pretty much instantly,” she said. My customers are able to ring in or pop in and book an appointment on the same day, most of the time.
“The additional benefit with the Independent Prescribing Service is that people will soon be able to come and see me for their minor acute conditions and I’ll be able to make a full assessment, diagnosis, treatment plan and prescribe medication, if appropriate.
“They won’t have to ring their doctor’s surgery, wait for an appointment, or go through a telephone consultation triage. If things are more complex we have robust referral systems in place to make sure people get the care they need.”
All pharmacies in North Wales are currently able to provide free expert advice and guidance on treating common conditions and their symptoms, often without the need for an appointment, offering a quick and convenient alternative to seeking support from a GP surgery.
In addition to the five-year training pathway that all pharmacists complete to qualify, Independent Prescribing Pharmacists, providing this service in North Wales, will also undertake an “intensive” prescribing course and an additional course on minor illness through Bangor University.
The service is currently provided in pharmacies on the Llŷn Peninsula, and in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Mold, Corwen, Coedpoeth, Colwyn Bay and Prestatyn.
Adam Mackridge, strategic lead for Community Pharmacy at BCUHB, said: “We’re encouraging more people with minor illnesses or conditions to take advantage of the free, expert advice provided.” at their local community pharmacy, which can usually be accessed more quickly than other services.
“Pharmacists are highly skilled clinical experts and they are supported by a team of Pharmacy Technicians and other staff who have also undergone comprehensive training.
“All pharmacies providing these services have private consultation rooms where you will be able to discuss minor ailments confidentially, in the same way you would with your GP.
“As the training to become an Independent Prescribing Pharmacist takes quite a lot of time, rollout will take time, but new pharmacies will begin providing this service year on year, helping to increase choice and provide better access for patients.”
For access to free health advice, 24 hours a day, including details on your nearest community pharmacy, visit the NHS 111 Wales website