Greater role for community pharmacies urged

Pharmacies can play a greater role in ensuring patients leaving hospital are not re-admitted.

That’s the view of Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd after discussions with pharmacists in Llangollen.

He visited Rowlands Pharmacy in the town to hear for himself the work that pharmacies play in delivering essential health services, including smoking cessation.

Mr Gruffydd, who met the local pharmacist Simon Kaniak as well as Judy Henley  from Community Pharmacy Wales and Rowlands regional manager said: “Pharmacies in England are facing 11% cuts while in Wales they are seen as an integral and important part of health service delivery. I’m particularly keen to see them used to relieve pressure on hard-pressed GP services by enabling them to sort out repeat prescriptions, which take up so much of a family doctor’s time.

“I also heard how pharmacists can also play a key part in ensuring that patients leaving hospital do not find themselves re-admitted because of problems with medication. Up to 30% of hospital re-admissions occur because of medication problems. A simple procedure – known as a Discharge Medicines Review – carried out by your local pharmacy could drastically cut those  re-admission rates, thus freeing up hospital beds and keeping people in the community.”

Mr Gruffydd added that a more joined-up approach with the Welsh health service was “a no-brainer” if the best value for money and most effective outcomes were to be achieved: “Demands on our health services are increasing year on year and we have to find better ways of working. Keeping people out of hospitals unless they absolutely have to be there should be a priority and I hope community pharmacies such as this can help improve our health care system.”

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