Mark Williams, Member of Parliament for Ceredigion, has this week raised the importance of the work of community pharmacies in rural areas during a debate in Parliament.
The debate raised concerns over potential Government cuts to community pharmacies in England, and there were worries that this could also impact on Welsh pharmacies due to the ‘Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework’ which covers both England and Wales.
During the debate, Mark praised the work and support that community pharmacies provide to rural communities, and welcomed the increasing level of services being provided through pharmacies that would otherwise only be available through GPs and hospitals.
Mark said: “Community pharmacies are a lifeline to many rural areas like Ceredigion. While we have a fantastic district hospital in Bronglais and many good GPs, with the rural nature of our County, and much of Mid-Wales, it can be incredibly difficult for many people to get to the closest hospital or GP when they need to.
“Pharmacies in Wales are now able to treat around 30% of the common ailments that people would go to their GP for, and have helped deliver NHS flu jabs to at risk groups for the past 4 winters – something which the NHS in England have now begun to replicate. Our community pharmacies therefore make up a very important part of the NHS primary care system in Wales.
“There is real concern however that if cuts are made to community pharmacies in England, through the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework, that this will also hit pharmacies in Wales.
“Due to their important role in rural communities throughout Wales, I will be seeking assurance from the UK Government that if cuts are made to pharmacies in England that they will fully consult and engage with Welsh Ministers to ensure our community pharmacy network does not suffer.”