Speaker Four: Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
Topic: Keynote address: a message to pharmacists in Wales
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, provided the conference’s keynote address, proceeding to both offer reassurance to delegates, and embolden their next steps.
The Health Minister’s opening words asserted that it’s an exciting time in Wales with the development and future of the industry. By reflecting on his personal health experiences, he was able to pinpoint just some of the progress – including his local practice moving on and attaining a pharmacist, in which medication reviews now exude much-welcomed consistency. Also conveyed was the Health Minister’s ambition for this to trickle further into the system as our priority should be that the patient is seen by the right person in the right place at the right time.
As well as sharing his aspirations for the future, the Health Minister delved into some of the advancements seen thus far. In particular, he noted that the common ailment service has attracted considerable positive feedback and is an example as to how to improve services and access across primary care. The new sore throat test and treat service has also received remarkable results since its pilot – with 94 per cent of patients reporting that they would have made an appointment with their GP otherwise.
The Health Minister assured the audience that the Welsh government is taking action to develop an adequately trained pharmacy workforce – supported by the announcement of a £100,000 funding package for pharmacists. The financial injection will focus specifically on managing minor ailments and will be used to fund specialist clinical skills training for 50 pharmacists.
The Health Minister also welcomed the establishment of ‘Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales’; a vision offering new opportunities to drive the changes that will safeguard the health and social care needs of current and future generations.