Pharmacists hope to play larger role in patients' circle of care by 2015
TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - With Ontarians set to go to the polls on
October 6, the Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA), the professional
association that represents the views and interests of more than 12,500
pharmacists, has announced its policy priorities for the 2011
provincial election and beyond.
Included in OPA's Vision for Pharmacists' Role in Health Care 2011-15, available at http://www.opatoday.com/files/public/documents/OPA_Vision2011-15.pdf, are nine key priorities including an expanded scope of practice for all
By 2015, it is hoped that Ontario's highly-educated community
pharmacists will be better utilized and fairly compensated for
providing essential health care services, especially for seniors and
those suffering from chronic illnesses.
"Better access to health care services is a top concern for voters
during this election, and the Ontario Pharmacists' Association will
continue to advocate strongly for a greater scope of practice for
pharmacists," said Darryl Moore, Chair of the Ontario Pharmacists
Association. "Ontarians need and expect community pharmacists to
provide more patient care services, just as pharmacists do in other
jurisdictions around the world. Routine immunizations and the authority
to assess and treat minor ailments are just two examples of services
that OPA hopes pharmacists are able to provide in the near future."
Pharmacists are medication experts with in-depth knowledge about
hundreds of prescription and non-prescription drugs. Many also
undertake additional training to become certified as diabetes or asthma
educators, or specialize in areas such as geriatrics or menopause.
According to a March 2009 Ipsos-Reid survey, 86 per cent of Ontarians
said they would rely on their pharmacist to provide medication for
minor ailments, and 71 per cent said they believed pharmacists could do
more to help them manage their health.
"We know it can be done," said Dennis Darby, Chief Executive Officer of
the Ontario Pharmacists' Association. "Many other jurisdictions have
authorized pharmacists to provide routine injections of immunizations
and vaccines, with great success and improved uptake by patients. Other
provinces and countries have authorized pharmacists to prescribe drugs
for minor ailments, like pink eye or poison ivy."
The Association emphasizes that by expanding Ontario pharmacists' scope
of practice, pharmacists can improve patient care; take pressure off
family physicians, emergency rooms and walk-in clinics; reduce wait
times and hospitals stays; and increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of Ontario's health care system.
A more significant monitoring system
Another key priority is to create a comprehensive plan aimed at reducing
the misuse and abuse of prescription narcotics - one of the most
serious public health and safety issues in Ontario.
"The current government made a good first move by creating the
prescription drug database, which will allow the province to monitor
prescriptions; however we are also calling for increased patient
education, improved addictions treatment, and coordinated efforts with
law enforcement to ensure the safety and security of pharmacists and
all of the patients they serve," Darby said.
To help pharmacists better fulfill their medication management role and
to reduce growing public anxiety about the likelihood of drug
shortages, OPA is also recommending the creation of a drug supply
monitoring system comparable to that of the United States' Food and
Drug Administration. Drug shortages faced by pharmacists in the past
year posed significant problems for pharmacists, patients and
prescribers. A drug monitoring system would ensure pharmacists are able
to provide the most appropriate medication needed to patients at the
About Ontario Pharmacists' Association
The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association
that represents the views and interests of more than 12,500 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. For more information, visit www.opatoday.com.
SOURCE Ontario Pharmacists' Association
For further information:
To arrange interviews or for more information, please contact:
Ontario Pharmacists' Association
416.441.0788, ext. 4266
Hill & Knowlton