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Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has given the go-ahead for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of Health (DoH), the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and the Community Pharmacy NI (CPNI).

The MoU sets out the shared commitment across the three parties to engage in negotiations aimed at developing a new framework for community pharmacy services by 31 March 2017.

Minister O’Neill said: “The signing of this MoU will allow the development of a new framework to fully realise the potential of community pharmacy services to support better health outcomes from medicines and prevent illness.

“Your local community pharmacy is your first point of contact for advice on your health, helping you to get well and stay well throughout life, through the safe supply of medicines, treatment of common complaints and services designed to help you get the most benefit from your medicines and improve your health.”

The Minister concluded: “I have commenced a programme to deliver contractual arrangements defining the unique and valuable contribution of community pharmacy to keeping people well and using their medicines safely.

“Discussions are already taking place between all parties to bring the development of this framework forward.”

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