Sioned Williams, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for South Wales West this week challenged the Welsh Government's refusal to back calls for an additional pharmacy in Pontardawe.
Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for South Wales West, Sioned Williams has called on the Welsh Government to explain why they are "obstructing constituents and GP’s plea for better pharmacy services".
Pharmacy services in Pontardawe have been unable to cope with the increasing demand and patients are frequently having to wait over an hour and a half for their prescriptions. Following concerns raised by the people of Pontardawe, an application to open an additional pharmacy was submitted in November 2020, however, this application was turned down by the health board in September 2021.
Shortly afterwards, an appeal was submitted and supported by Plaid Cymru elected representatives, GPs, and many residents across the affected communities. The appeal highlighted three years’ worth of complaints and the use of an incorrect map to determine population needs. Subsequently, the appeal was rejected by Ministers despite recognition of several flaws in the Health Boards' reasons for refusal and accepting some of the arguments put forward by the community, which included all of the GPs in favour of an additional pharmacy to serve it.
Sioned Williams wrote a letter to the Health Minister in early October contesting the decision to reject the appeal. She also brought the issue to attention during yesterday's First Ministers' Questions
Sioned Williams MS said:
"Over the last decade, services delivered by communities' pharmacies have increased, but the numbers of community pharmacies have remained pretty static, despite increased healthcare demands and reforms to support Welsh Government's vision for community pharmacy teams to support health and care services. But many of my constituents have raised issues with me regarding inadequate pharmacy services.
"In Pontardawe, patients are frequently having to wait over an hour and a half for their prescriptions. An application to open an additional pharmacy was however turned down by the health board and the appeal rejected by Welsh Government, despite accepting some of the arguments put forward by the community, which included all of the GPs in favour of an additional pharmacy to serve it. As a part of the 10-year plan, 'Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales', Welsh Government has committed to enhancing patient experience and to delivering seamless pharmaceutical care.
"However, the reality on the ground paints a different picture; by refusing to allow an increase in capacity in Pontardawe, the Government is actually obstructing its own 10-point plan"