Working with the Welsh Government
We have outlined the key manifesto commitments of the Welsh Labour Party that are of relevance to pharmaceutical service developments in Wales, following the elections to the National Assembly for Wales and the creation of a Labour Government in May 2011.
Health care in the 21st Century is a key issue for all political parties. The Welsh Labour manifesto devotes a specific chapter on health; clearly outlining their vision for the future of NHS services in Wales and the plans they will put in place to achieve their aims.
Welsh Labour recognise that Health and Social Care services are facing significant challenges; a growing population of older people, an increase in the prevalence of chronic conditions, and a challenging financial climate.
Their approach to improving population health and health services is characterised by an emphasis on reducing inequalities in health, improving prevention, tackling the causes of ill-health and rebalancing NHS services to ensure easier access to services in local communities. Among other issues this means tackling the development of primary care services, modernising acute services, and improving workforce planning and workforce flexibility.
Pharmacy commitments in Wales
In their 2011 manifesto, Welsh Labour have placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of pharmacy services. The main emphasis is on the role of community pharmacy in Wales helping to deliver their vision of a rebalanced health care system that reduces pressures on acute services and supports people to look after their own health in their local communities.
The key commitments for pharmacy are:
- Support a scheme that promotes Community Pharmacy in Wales as the first port of call for the consultation and treatment of common minor ailments.
- Support the self-care of patients via the Community Pharmacy network, recognising the accessibility of this clinically qualified professional without the need of an appointment.
- Continue to work with community pharmacists to significantly reduce the amount of waste medicines, cutting the waste of valuable NHS resources.
- Instigate a programme of annual health checks, led by GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals, for everyone over the age of 50 over the next Assembly term.
- Work with community pharmacies to raise awareness of stroke risk and use Medication Usage Reviews to support the correct use of anti-hypertensive medication.
- Maintain the pledge that prescriptions will be free to all people living in Wales.
- Give patients the opportunity to access information on self-care and order repeat prescriptions on-line.
Issues for pharmacy
In addition to the specific reference to pharmaceutical services in the 2011 manifesto, there are a range of other issues in the Welsh Labour manifesto that may have a potential impact on pharmacy services in Wales. RPS members should be aware that Welsh Labour has committed to taking forward the following activity:
- Require GPs to make surgeries more accessible to working people so that they can access local GP services in the evening and Saturday mornings
- Workforce flexibility will be a priority to ensure essential health services are available 7 days a week and 24 hours a day
- Utilise the skills of graduate nurses and other health professionals
- Rejection of Private Finance Initiatives in health care
- Health Boards to develop a strategy for specialist services in Wales
- Provide individual care plans for people with chronic conditions, mental health problems and people diagnosed with cancer
- Continue to focus on quality of care using mechanisms such as the 1000 Lives Plus programme
- Ensure every member of NHS staff takes part in a national customer care programme to ensure good communication between services and with patients and their families/carers
- Deliver clinically-focused targets for key priorities in cancer, cardiac, stroke services
- Tackle variations in health care for cardiac conditions
- Help people to lead healthy lifestyles by encouraging physical activity and a balanced diet as well as discouraging risky behaviours i.e. smoking and excessive drinking
- Ensure palliative care services are delivered by using the expertise across the NHS and the third sector
- Continue to move away from institutionalised mental health care and focus on effective community care
- Establish an annual health campaign to tackle the five biggest public health priorities – alcohol, obesity, smoking, teenage pregnancies and drug abuse.
Have your say
If you have any issues you wish to raise about these key commitments for pharmacy, consider:
- Raising your concerns through your Local Practice Forum
- Speaking to members of the Welsh Pharmacy Board and the RPS Staff in Wales
- Meeting with your local Assembly Member
If you need any advice on making contact with your local AM, it is recommended that you take a look at the lobbying guide for pharmacy. Alternatively please feel free to contact us at the Welsh Office - we would be happy to discuss lobbying activity with you.