Jersey pharmacies are due to get a £12m boost to help them recruit and develop new services ranging from providing advice about medicines to helping with minor ailments.
Taken from the Health Insurance Fund, the money will help pharmacists to become prescribers, and employ or train more technicians to support their work, while also providing an increase in the fee paid to pharmacies for dispensing medicines.
Announcing the investment over the next three to four years yesterday, Social Security Minister Elaine Millar also confirmed that the law will be changing in May to allow prescriptions to cover longer periods.
Currently, most medicines can only be issued for 30 days before a repeat prescription or GP consultation is required.
The change aims to "reduce the time and cost it takes for islanders to get their repeat prescriptions", free "up appointment times in GP practices" and "help other islanders who may need to see their GP more urgently", the Minister said.
Pictured: Deputy Elaine Millar, the Social Security Minister, said pharmacists in Jersey are able to offer islanders "far more" than an "essential dispensing service".
The £12m package is the first major boost for the sector in many years, with the government having previously failed to keep funding in step with RPI.
Sara Kynicos, Chair of Jersey Chemist Contractors Committee, said the sector was "pleased that ministers have recognised the valuable skills that Community Pharmacy teams can offer and are collaborating with us to develop future services to support islanders to live healthier lives."
"This enhanced funding package will support pharmacists and their pharmacy teams to utilise their professional skills and knowledge more fully, to provide affordable and easily accessible services across Jersey for the benefit of islanders and the wider healthcare system," she added.
Pharmacists being trained today will have the skills to prescribe medicines within agreed limits while, from next year, all newly qualified pharmacists will be independent prescribers. Part of the £12m funding package will support existing pharmacists in Jersey to upgrade their qualifications to this same level.
The government explained that independent pharmacist prescribers were equipped to start treatment as well as to prescribe ongoing treatment as needed but that they would be expected to prescribe within their areas of expertise. They added that, in future, patients could expect to get prescriptions from a pharmacist, perhaps working within a specialist clinic in the hospital or at their GP surgery, or as part of a community-based service for a specific condition, such as asthma or heart disease.
The first part of the £12m package will be starting this month, and will see islanders who have difficulty taking their prescribed medication supplied with blister packs, reminder charts, advice and GP referrals.
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