This morning (Friday, 23rd June), Joel James MS paid a visit to Rhoose Pharmacy in Barry, to see first-hand the role community pharmacies play in our primary care system.
A community pharmacy, also known as a local pharmacy, offers a range of services, including those on the NHS. They dispense prescriptions, sell over-the-counter medicines, and give advice on treating minor ailments and health conditions. The main ethos of a community pharmacy is to be as accessible to those within the community as possible.
During his visit, Joel met with Rhodri Thomas from Community Pharmacies Wales, an organisation that represents over 700 pharmacies on NHS matters, as well as the owner – Claire. Whilst being shown the facilities, Rhodri and Claire expressed to Joel some of their concerns surrounding the recent rise in medication costs and their availability on the global market. The demand on local pharmacies has increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the ever-increasing medical needs of the population, yet the sector only received a 1% uplift in their annual budget.
Joel was interested to learn of the pharmacy’s plans to help ease pressure on the local GP surgery by introducing a consultation room and an Independent Practitioner who will be able to prescribe medications for common ailments such as ear, nose, throat and chest infections and respiratory issues.
Following the visit, Joel said;
I had a really interesting visit today to see how a community pharmacy operates. They provide vital services to local communities, and it was great to hear that Claire has recently qualified as an Independent Practitioner. However, it was shocking to learn that pharmacies are unable to access primary care funding to install consultation rooms for instance.
This simply is not good enough. If we wish for pharmacies to help ease some of the pressures on our GP surgeries, the Government should support them to do this with funding and guidance. Contractors such as Claire should not be spending £100,000 of their own finances to facilitate Government desires.