Solutions that may reduce waiting times for patients and ease congestion in clinics due to minor emergencies
OTTAWA, March 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) wishes to express its support for a series of proposals that were made public by the Ordre des Pharmaciens du Québec this past week. These proposals, designed to enable pharmacists to extend or adjust prescriptions given to Quebec patients will help improve access to health care by freeing physicians from having to do certain kinds of patient follow-ups. The experience of several other Canadian Provinces in this regard has been promising.
Initiatives from which one can draw inspiration
As part of an ongoing reflection in the Province of Quebec on how to mitigate the difficulties many Quebeckers experience in gaining access to a family physician, the CPhA has chosen to speak up and share the results of certain initiatives that have been implemented by several other provincial governments: "Elsewhere across the country, such initiatives are enabling physicians and pharmacists to work more effectively together as a team and deliver quality care to their patients", explained Denis Villeneuve, Quebec director of the CPhA. The CPhA invites Quebec stakeholders to keep an open mind and not reject these initiatives outright, given that they do indeed foster access to health care in a context of manifestly scarce resources.
Diminished waiting times
In New-Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and soon in Ontario, patients may, under special circumstances and in accordance with a clearly defined regulatory framework that is particular to each Province, have their prescription renewed by a pharmacist for certain diseases. In some cases, the pharmacist may even initiate a treatment for a minor emergency.
For example, it is now possible in some Provinces to get an antibiotic from the pharmacist to treat a minor urinary infection, without having to systematically go to the ER. Also, if the prescription for a patient with diabetes has expired, the pharmacist may, after verifying certain basics such as the patient's glycemic status, extend a prescription for more than one month, while the patient waits for their next doctor's appointment. This same example could apply to a patient with emphysema who experienced significant problems breathing, if for purely administrative reasons or difficulty in seeing their physician, they were unable to renew the pump they needed to relieve their symptoms. Now, they could get a renewal from their pharmacist when the authorized refills have been exhausted. These are only three simple examples that illustrate tangible results.
Clearly defined parameters
The fundamental difference with the current situation lies in the fact that pharmacists could now act autonomously in the interest of the patients and in collaboration with physicians. Everyone comes out a winner. These solutions have made things a lot easier for patients elsewhere in Canada and have succeeded in alleviating the workload of many physicians.
Saskatchewan follows suit
After British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario, Saskatchewan's Health Minister, Mr. Don McMorris, announced legislative amendments earlier this week to expand the prescribing authority of the Province's pharmacists, this time by enabling them to adapt prescriptions and prescribe medication in certain situations. The Saskatchewan Medical Association moreover applauded this announcement and declared that: "Enhancing a pharmacist's authority to write prescriptions in certain circumstances is an excellent example of how we are putting the needs of the patient first."(1)
About the Canadian Pharmacists Association
The Canadian Pharmacists Association is the national organization for pharmacists, advocating and supporting its members to advance the profession and enhance patient outcomes.
SOURCE Canadian Pharmacists Association
For further information: For further information: Denis Villeneuve, pharmacist and Quebec Director of CPhA, Tel.: (418) 572-3699