Community Pharmacy NI has welcomed today’s announcement of £13.25m in funding for the community pharmacy network by the Department of Health.
Community Pharmacy NI is the professional membership body which represents over 500 local community pharmacies across Northern Ireland.
The funding allocation is set to help sustain and expand transformative services provided by community pharmacists, building on their response to the Covid-19 pandemic whilst at the same time going some way in easing workforce pressures and financial uncertainty.
This funding boost comes amidst huge strain placed on the Health Service during the recent surge of the virus and the challenges now faced by the Health and Social Care estate in rebuilding and transforming services as the pandemic subsides.
Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy NI, Gerard Greene said today: “We welcome the announcement from the Department of Health. This funding will allow the community pharmacy network to sustain and develop services to build upon its vital, frontline role. This allocation signals a move forward for community pharmacy as a key service in the new post-Covid health and social care system supporting important service provision to patients. It is a clear recognition of the critical role of the sector, not only in the safe supply of medicines, but as the fabric which holds local communities together in times of crisis.”
“Community Pharmacy NI would like to thank the Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, for his commitment to the community pharmacy network. We are only too aware of the extreme pressures the health system has faced recently. Despite only being in post as Health Minister since the return of the Assembly earlier this year, he has listened, and prioritised community pharmacy and we must acknowledge his commitment in finding solutions.”
“We also commend the work of the officials in the Department of Health and HSCB who have worked collaboratively with CPNI in securing this funding, which will have a transformative and positive impact for patients here.”
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, community pharmacists have worked night and day to support their local communities. During the recent months, it is clear that the community pharmacy network rose to the professional challenges and adapted almost overnight to keep the flow of vital medicines to patients managing conditions in addition to those presenting symptoms at pharmacies who were unable to access their GP.”
“This funding boost is hugely positive and will enable community pharmacy to address immediate pressures and help with the challenges of the post-Covid Health Service, assisting community pharmacy to provide even more services to ensure our communities are served and supported and that public health is protected.”
Community Pharmacy NI Chair, James McCaughan added: “From the earliest stages of the Covid-19 health crisis, community pharmacists were all too aware that they were at the frontline of the healthcare response. We saw an incredible surge of patients going to local community pharmacies across NI to seek advice and obtain vital medicines.”
“The pandemic highlighted the agility of our network, with pharmacies changing overnight in many cases. New layouts were designed, Perspex screens were erected, social distancing measures implemented, and stocks of PPE were provided to ensure both public and staff safety so that community pharmacies were open, accessible and could look after patients.”
“The pressures of the pandemic have had an emotional and physical toll on many of our colleagues, but it has also shone a light on their passion and energy for our local communities and our commitment to ensure support and care is provided at all times.”
“Community pharmacy is the heartbeat of our neighbourhoods, with many of our patients coming to us when they needed us most. This new funding allocation shows the Department of Health’s commitment to ensuring community pharmacy is a key component to the rebuilding of the Health Service. We welcome the funding news today and look forward to maintaining and expanding on our services in future.”