Ontario pharmacists ready to provide additional safe, accessible services to
patients in collaboration with other health professionals

TORONTO, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - Ontario pharmacists are ready, willing and able to provide expanded safe and accessible health services to patients, working as part of the overall health team that Ontarians need to manage the many aspects of comprehensive health care.

This was the response today by the Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA) following the Ontario Medical Association's launch of a media and advertising campaign claiming patient safety would be endangered if pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are given greater scope to help patients, as proposed by the Ontario government's Bill 179.

"It's unfortunate the OMA has taken this approach in presenting its opposition to Bill 179," said Dennis Darby, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Pharmacists' Association. "Pharmacists know they can and should do more to provide much-needed services to patients in this era of increasing health needs and scarce resources, and that pharmacists, doctors and others need to work in partnership to maintain and improve the health of Ontarians."

Like doctors, pharmacists are highly trained and regulated healthcare professionals with clear standards of practice designed to protect patient safety. While physicians are the experts in diagnosis, pharmacists are experts in medication and medication management. They have an in-depth knowledge of hundreds of prescription and non-prescription medications and are trained to assess, monitor, support and educate patients on their medication therapy.

Pharmacists already provide many patient care services on a daily basis, particularly for patients managing chronic diseases, and help patients with treatment options for many minor ailments. Patients appreciate these services because pharmacists are one of the most accessible of healthcare providers, with pharmacies located in nearly every community and often open long hours or even 24 hours per day.

While the OMA criticized the idea of pharmacists prescribing medications, this is already being safely and successfully done, within strict limits and under defined protocols, in other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, British Columbia and Alberta.

The OPA believes that patients need the specific expertise and coordinated services of many different health professionals - doctors, pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners and others - to provide the total range of care necessary in today's environment.

"We look forward to working constructively with the Ontario government, physicians, other healthcare professionals and healthcare institutions. We are confident that together we can develop new services to meet the health needs of all Ontario residents," Darby said.

About the Ontario Pharmacists' Association

The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association that represents the views and interests of more than 11,000 pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training across the province. The Association works to inspire excellence in the profession and practice of pharmacy, and to promote wellness for patients.

SOURCE Ontario Pharmacists' Association

For further information: For further information: Deborah McNorgan, Director Communications, Ontario Pharmacists' Association, (416) 441-0788 ext. 4266 (office) or (416) 523-3446 (mobile)

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Ontario Pharmacists' Association

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