The Welsh Government have backed community pharmacy by meeting all the financial requests set out in the previous Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) proposals.
In addition to the previous pandemic related funding a further £3.5m will be provided to community pharmacy contractors, meeting CPW’s formal proposal in full.
In total, £9.1m will have been allocated this financial year. This money has been agreed in recognition of the ‘vital role’ pharmacies played during the height of the pandemic.
In a statement Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services said:
“On 23 December 2020, I announced I would be providing additional funding of £5.6m to community pharmacy contractors to meet additional costs incurred during the COVIC-19 pandemic.
“This funding was able to be provided directly to contractors early in the new year, along with up to £0.6m to pharmacies’ service costs in delivering Government sourced seasonal influenza vaccines administered by pharmacies.
“I also gave a guarantee that pharmacies engaged in the Primary Care COVID-19 Immunisation Scheme, service fees would be paid from additional funding. We have seen a successful pilot of vaccine delivery in north Wales and a number of other contractors being engaged. I want to see this involvement of community pharmacy increasing over the next few weeks. On 1st March the Chief Executive of the NHS wrote to Health Board Chief Executives advising them to put in place arrangements to contract with community pharmacies in their areas which are able to deliver a minimum of 100 appointments each week, managed through the health boards’ established booking systems.
“I also agreed to the deferment of further repayments against the £55m advance payment until the 2021-22 financial year. I can confirm this has been actioned in order to support the cash flow situation for community pharmacies.
“Finally, I confirmed that further discussions with CPW would be held, should resources become available before the end of the financial year.
“I am today, very pleased to confirm that a further £3.5m will be provided to community pharmacy contractors, meeting CPW’s formal proposal in full.
“In total, this means new money of £9.1m will have been allocated this financial year in recognition of the vital role pharmacies played during the height of the pandemic in all our communities, the length and breadth of Wales.
“I look forward to continuing to work with CPW and our contractors in building on their success and in developing their services further to support our communities as we emerge from these difficult times.”
The Chair of Community Pharmacy Wales, Mark Griffiths, has welcomed substantial additional funding to the community pharmacy network in Wales by the Welsh Government. Mark Griffiths said:
“Community pharmacy contractors across Wales are absolutely delighted that the Welsh Government has met our claim for additional work delivered in dealing with Covid pandemic during the Spring of 2020. This additional sum of £3.5m means community pharmacists will have received over nine million pounds in one financial year.
“This significant additional spending, over and above the community pharmacy contract, reflects and appreciates the hard work and real expenditure made by the network during the most challenging period in the history of community pharmacy.
“We are grateful that the Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething, and the whole Welsh Government have recognised our contribution in word, in deed and in totality.”
Helen Lewis, PDA’s Regional Official for Wales and West of England, said:
“These recent developments clearly signal continued support from the Welsh Government for pharmacists and community pharmacies, and recognition of the role that they have played during the Covid-19 pandemic. We acknowledge that the Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have also made funds available for one-off bonus payments to healthcare workers including pharmacists, in recognition of their work during the pandemic. The Westminster Government is now the only national government that has not announced a similar recognition scheme in respect of health professionals’ contribution during the pandemic.
The news of further investment this week in Wales is also in stark contrast to the ongoing discussions between the PSNC and NHS England around the financial sustainability of pharmacy and in particular costs incurred by contractors in their response to Covid-19. A decision about the status of the £370m advance payment, which contractors are calling to be written off, is yet to be made.”