Making it Better Through Pharmacy in the Community

Date published: 02 November 2018

In 2004, the Department published “Making it Better”, a strategy for pharmacy in the community which led to the development of a number of regionally and locally commissioned services to address public health challenges and improve medicines use. This resulted in a range of services that are available in most community pharmacies today which include; minor ailments, repeat dispensing; medicines use review and smoking cessation services.


The 2004 Strategy was almost 10 years old and while its implementation delivered some benefits as listed above there remained significant opportunities to further develop the provision of pharmacy services in the community.

The ongoing programme of transformational change in the delivery of Health and Social Care also provides a unique opportunity to develop and further embed pharmacy services in the community.

Against this background in August 2012, the Minister approved the development of a refreshed strategy for the provision of pharmacy services in the community.

A draft strategy was issued for consultation on 29 July 2013.  The consultation period ended on 1 November 2013.

There were a total of 41 responses to the consultation from the HSC, professional and community organisations and from a number of individuals.

The responses were generally positive and supportive of the key themes and associated strategic goals set out in the draft strategy and with the proposals for achieving these strategic goals.

The aim of the strategy which was formally launched on 26 March 2014 is to facilitate the fuller integration of pharmacy services across the HSC through the commissioning and delivery of HSC contracted pharmacy services to ensure high quality, safe and effective public health and medicines management for the people of Northern Ireland.

It seeks to provide a clear direction for the delivery of pharmacy services in the community which place the individual at the centre and aim to optimise their health and wellbeing throughout life by:

  • helping people to gain better outcomes from medicines
  • helping people to live longer, healthier lives
  • helping people to safely avail of care closer to home
  • helping people to benefit from advances in treatment and technology

Implementation Plan

Following publication of the strategy, the Department established an Implementation Advisory Group, whom met a number of times, to produce and agree an implementation plan.

The plan sets out the key actions to be delivered by the HSC Board, the Department and the various bodies which represent the pharmacy sector to achieve each of the strategic goals set out in the strategy.

The plan assigns indicators for each of the strategic goals, responsibility for taking forward the various actions and sets out a proposed timescale for these actions.

The implementation plan was published on 4 February 2015

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