NHS Wales has opened a consultation to change the control of entry regulations to a system based on pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNA).
Comments can be made online and should be received by Monday 25 November.
The change, which is proposed to take effect from April 1, 2020, will apply equally to dispensing GP and pharmacy applications. If passed, the legislation will invite applications based on a specific need identified in the most recent pharmaceutical needs assessment of the health board to which they are applying.
The draft legislation does not propose any changes to locations that have been determined as reserved locations or controlled localities or to the application of the prejudice test. However, where an application has not been refused under the prejudice test, the health board must refuse an application unless it is satisfied that it would meet a need for pharmaceutical services, or pharmaceutical services of a specified type, in the area of the relevant locality and which has been included in the relevant pharmaceutical needs assessment and which the doctor has applied for outline consent.
In preparing their pharmaceutical needs assessment, health boards must have regard to the following:
- previous pharmaceutical needs assessments
- the demography of the area
- the different needs of each of the localities in the health board area
- the effect of pharmaceutical services provided under arrangements with neighbouring health boards
- the effect of dispensing services or other NHS services provided outside its area
- any likely future needs.
Proposing the new legislation, Welsh health and social service minister Vaughan Gething said that current legislation does not allow health boards to plan where pharmacies are located or to direct which services must be provided from those locations. The aim of the change is to maximise the public health role of community pharmacies.
Pharmaceutical needs assessments are already in operation in England, although English legislation makes provision for allowing applications that offer ‘unforeseen benefits’ not detailed in the PNA.
Wales first considered PNA-based control of entry in 2011 but did not include the relevant provisions in the 2013 Regulations, which are currently in force.