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Caerphilly Health Health National News South Wales

Local pharmacy leads the way in community healthcare innovation

As national chain pharmacies like Lloyds Pharmacy and Boots close down or leave high streets, communities are left wondering about the future.

One high street health provider, Mayberry Pharmacy, has responded to the changes using technology to ensure residents receive the best healthcare services possible.

NHS England launched its Pharmacy First scheme in England at the end of January. Similar to the common ailments service in Wales, the scheme allows pharmacists to treat patients with common ailments without having to make a GP appointment. However, Mayberry Pharmacy has already gone a stage further by developing software that streamlines prescription processes. It releases the pharmacist from the dispensing process to be able to spend more time with patients, offering the Common Ailments Service and prescribing for 30 other common conditions funded by NHS Wales.

The idea behind these services is to reduce the workload on GPs so that they can focus on more complex conditions while highly trained pharmacists treat more common conditions. “We knew pharmacy services in Wales would move towards a service-based format rather than prescriptions alone. So, we retrained our pharmacists and staff and developed a new software that helps pharmacists,” said managing director Paul Mayberry.

“Most pharmacies are still using software that’s 20-30 years old to process prescriptions. We developed a software that cuts out repetitive tasks, gives pharmacies highly efficient stock control and turns round prescriptions fast,” Mayberry explained.

Dozens of pharmacies in Wales are already using the prescription dispensing software, and Mayberry is waiting for English accreditation to launch his product in England later this month. “Although many pharmacists in England have welcomed the Pharmacy First scheme, some have raised concerns about how pharmacists will be able to cope with an influx of patients as well as increasing prescription volumes.  We’ve already developed a system that tackles that issue head-on. It frees up pharmacists to spend quality time helping patients,” said Mayberry.

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In a move showcasing his commitment to improving patient services, he has installed a prescription collection machine in Crane Street, Pontypool, where patients can collect medication 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Expecting the machine, which operates like an ATM, to be well-received by the public, Mayberry wants to install more in Blackwood and other locations in South Wales.

Mayberry’s efforts demonstrate how independent pharmacies and other local businesses can adapt to changes on the high street by using innovation to meet the community’s needs.