3 Apr 2013

Thousands sign up for new pharmacy service

7:31 am on 3 April 2013

A new service provided by pharmacists has signed up 120,000 people with long term health conditions.

Pharmacists are extending their traditional dispensing role to include providing advice and support to needy patients under a key agreement between pharmacy owners and district health boards.

The Community Pharmacy Services Agreement signed last year alters the way pharmacies are funded by the Government, enabling them to both dispense medicines and offer advice and support to patients with long-term conditions.

It is being implemented over three years and the first payments were made last month.

Programme manager Tracey Adamson says it will cap rising community pharmacy costs, help people who struggle with multiple medicines, and make better use of pharmacists' expertise.

Family doctors say the change will enhance communication in primary care.