Ontario Community Pharmacists Call for Halt to Healthcare Crisis

Call for move to Alberta-style system that includes lower cost of generics, removal of professional allowances and reinvestment in patient care

TORONTO, May 6 /CNW/ - Ontario's Community Pharmacies Coalition are calling on the Ministry of Health to stave off the looming crisis that the McGuinty government's massive cuts to front-line healthcare will deliver to Ontarians. Ontario pharmacists will be submitting a detailed proposal that outlines a three-year transition strategy to a new model, similar to that of Alberta, which is a mixture of investment in professional fees and services.

"Less patient access to community healthcare is not an option for the people of Ontario," said Donnie Edwards, R.Ph, B.Sc. Phm, owner of Boggio and Edwards IDA in Ridgeway, Ontario. "Pharmacists want to work collaboratively with the government to find a transparent, innovative and cost-efficient solution that preserves the role of pharmacy as the hub of community healthcare."

The Coalition submission focuses on three key areas designed to maximize system efficiencies, reduce patient risk and improve overall patient security and healthcare.

Reinvestment in patient services - Pharmacists called on the government to implement a fair direct funding model that ensures the continued availability of front-line pharmacy care, promotes new pharmacist services and encourages overall system innovation. It is precisely this kind of system that allows pharmacists to continue to provide pharmacy and health care services such as on-going advice and counselling services such as chronic disease management, patient and doctor prescription follow-up and ensuring that patients have the best medical outcomes when taking prescribed medications.

Ensuring patient safety - Pharmacists called for the implementation of a fully integrated and electronic Drug Information System which would enable electronic prescriptions and eliminate hand written prescriptions. This would assist in better decision-making and improving patient safety outcomes.

Pharmacy system efficiencies - Pharmacists called on the government to recognize the expertise of pharmacists as front-line healthcare experts and to ensure that their expertise is applied to every patient resulting in system efficiencies and cost savings.

The Coalition's recommendations include a 24 month roll-out plan to be jointly developed with government by July 2010. Pharmacists have additionally called for the establishment of a working group, comprised of Ministry and pharmacy participants, to develop appropriate additional support for defined rural and unique populations and geographic communities.

Finally, the Coalition has requested a seven day regulation review period to facilitate transition and implementation matters once the government has finalized their recommendations.

"We trust this submission demonstrates to Minister Matthews that system improvements need not compromise front-line healthcare and can be achieved in a way that maintains the services of community pharmacies," concluded Mr. Edwards.

About Ontario's Community Pharmacies

The Ontario's Community Pharmacies coalition is the unified voice of community pharmacy in Ontario, representing independent owner-operated stores, "banner" groups of independently-owned stores that work together, as well as large and small pharmacy chains. The coalition is supported by the associations and organizations that represent both the profession and the neighbourhood business of pharmacy, including the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, the Independent Pharmacists Association of Ontario, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Ontario Chain Drug Association.

SOURCE ONTARIO'S COMMUNITY PHARMACIES

For further information: For further information: Ontario's Community Pharmacies Coalition Media Hotline, (416) 226-9100 x202

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ONTARIO'S COMMUNITY PHARMACIES

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ONTARIO HEALTH CARE

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