Ontario Seniors to Government: Front-Line Healthcare Cuts Will Hurt Us Most

TORONTO, April 27 /CNW/ - The Alliance of Seniors/Older Canadians Network, an organization of approximately 20 seniors organizations, representing in excess of 200,000 seniors across Ontario, along with concerned seniors from our communities, have come out today to stand against the McGuinty government's $750M cuts to front-line healthcare.

With Ontario's population rapidly aging, there has never been a greater demand for the front-line healthcare that pharmacists deliver. Two-thirds of people over the age of 65 take five or more prescription medicines - pharmacists provide regular and ongoing counsel and support to this growing segment of Ontario's population.

The McGuinty government's proposed massive healthcare cuts may force pharmacies to reduce service hours, lay off pharmacists and other staff, and eliminate some health services altogether. As a result there will be a reduction in the level of accessible care available in our communities, affecting the most vulnerable, like seniors and the chronically ill. Inevitably, some pharmacies may be forced to close permanently.

"These cuts will have a devastating effect on seniors. While most seniors have their drug costs covered by the Ontario Public Drug Program, many are on very limited incomes. Seniors rely heavily on services like drug delivery and medication management," said Jack Pinkus, PhMB, president, Alliance of Seniors/Older Canadians Network. "We rely on our pharmacists regularly for advice and to maintain our health, are we now expected to make a doctor's appointment and wait a week or more for an appointment every time we have a question that our local pharmacist can answer immediately?

"Seniors simply cannot afford to wait or start paying for these services out of pocket."

Ontario's Community Pharmacies stand with our concerned seniors and call on the government to stop the reckless cuts to the front-line health care services that seniors in Ontario depend on.

"It's irresponsible of the government to ignore how these healthcare cuts are going to hurt our seniors. Anyone with an aging parent recognizes how important the relationship is between a senior and their pharmacist. It's unacceptable that the government is tying our hands and not allowing us to offer our seniors the same level of care that they receive today - they deserve better than that," said Ben Shenouda, pharmacist and president, Independent Pharmacists Association of Ontario.

Ontario's Community Pharmacies remain hopeful that they can have a constructive dialogue with the government as soon as possible and work together to find the right solution for the people of Ontario, particularly our seniors.

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 of Ontario, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Ontario Chain Drug Association.

About Alliance of Seniors/Older Canadians Network

The Seniors Alliance Network, an organization of approximately 20 seniors organizations, representing in excess of 200,000 seniors across Ontario, was formed in 1993 in response to successive federal budgets that demonstrated a substantial withdrawal of financial and political support for Canada's cherished social safety net.

As an active diverse and growing non-partisan non-profit coalition of individuals and organizations, representing the concerns of older adults to the general public and all levels of government, we fully endorse the principles of the Canada Health Act, comprehensiveness, universality, accessibility, portability and public administration.

SOURCE Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada

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

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