Bradshaw welcomes community pharmacy funding and commissioning agreement

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has welcomed the commissioning agreement with Community Pharmacy in Northern Ireland, alongside an additional investment.

The South Belfast MLA stated: “Community pharmacy has long proven its worth, but never more so than during the pandemic. I warmly welcome that its value has been reflected in the priority with which this commissioning agreement has been reached.

“The total investment, with £13 million announced today, is now close to the required about to secure community pharmacy’s future while making allowances for the additional expense incurred by pharmacies themselves to maintain social distancing since March.

“I also particularly welcome the ‘pharmacy first’ plan, which enables the broadening of primary care directly in line with Bengoa principles, while using the existing network of pharmacies to do so. This will mean that minor ailments can be dealt with quickly, without burdening the rest of the health and social care system. Ultimately, this should be part of a plan that leads to faster treatment, fewer referrals and shorter waiting times.

“I welcome also the proposed role of pharmacies in mental health, and urge the Minister to ensure the Mental Health Strategy is brought forward, including pharmacies, in line with the original timescale.

“Community pharmacies are not just medicines dispensing shops, but a vital part of the local community across Northern Ireland. Their strength is our strength. I am delighted to see that their future is now more secure.”