Phar­ma­cists com­mit­ted to en­hanced ser­vices

Pa­tients like hav­ing more ac­cess to care in their com­mu­ni­ties, Paul Bazin says.

Regina Leader-Post - - OPINION - Paul Bazin, chair, Phar­macy As­so­ci­a­tion of Saskatchewan

I’d like to re­spond to a re­cent op-ed let­ter from Dr. Joanne Sivert­son, speak­ing for the Saskatchewan Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (SMA).

We agree with Dr. Sivert­son that ef­fec­tive health care is “a sys­tem with many mov­ing parts, and their move­ments must be har­mo­nized to get the best re­sults.” In fact, over re­cent years, Saskatchewan’s 1,600-plus phar­ma­cists have demon­strated a com­mit­ment to in­vest­ing in new ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ex­panded ser­vices, al­ways with a fo­cus on pa­tient well-be­ing and ac­cess.

We be­lieve that our sys­tem is evolv­ing for the bet­ter, and our in­vest­ment in the ca­pa­bil­i­ties to pro­vide en­hanced and grow­ing ser­vices helps pa­tients get health care in their home­towns, re­lieves pres­sure on clin­ics and acute care fa­cil­i­ties and makes our sys­tem work bet­ter for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing physi­cians. This evo­lu­tion is oc­cur­ring across Canada, with a grow­ing num­ber of phar­ma­cists pro­vid­ing these types of ser­vices right across the coun­try. Saskatchewan is not unique in this area — we are fol­low­ing best-prac­tice ev­i­dence from other prov­inces where pa­tients are ben­e­fit­ing from the en­hanced prac­tice of phar­ma­cists.

Any change takes time, and we are tak­ing a grad­ual ap­proach to the in­tro­duc­tion of new ser­vices to en­sure pa­tients are well-served. Ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with col­leagues in health care — in­clud­ing the Min­istry of Health — over the past decade has helped us en­sure we are evolv­ing to bet­ter serve Saskatchewan com­mu­ni­ties; ser­vice that is ev­i­dence-based and pa­tient-fo­cused.

And our com­mu­ni­ties are re­spond­ing with clear sup­port for this di­rec­tion. Phar­ma­cists rank among the most re­spected of health­care pro­fes­sion­als, ac­cord­ing to the 2018 Aba­cus re­search con­ducted in Fe­bru­ary and funded by the Cana­dian Phar­ma­cists As­so­ci­a­tion (CPhA). In ad­di­tion, in Saskatchewan, pa­tients sur­veyed were very sup­port­ive of ad­di­tional health care be­ing pro­vided by phar­ma­cists.

Saskatchewan res­i­dents are ap­pre­ci­at­ing the abil­ity to ob­tain care from their home­town phar­macy, and we are see­ing sig­nif­i­cant growth in the num­bers of pa­tients seek­ing ser­vices such as an­nual flu vac­cines from their phar­ma­cist. Since phar­ma­cists were pro­vided the au­thor­ity and train­ing to pro­vide flu vac­cines, the num­ber of pa­tients ac­cess­ing their phar­ma­cist for their shot has grown to close to 120,000 and 18 per cent of res­i­dents sur­veyed in­di­cated they got their flu shot for the first time be­cause it was of­fered by their phar­ma­cist.

Each day, Saskatchewan’s phar­ma­cists earn the con­tin­u­ing high trust that our pa­tients and our com­mu­ni­ties place in us. As pro­fes­sion­als, we have in­vested in un­der­stand­ing the sci­ence and clin­i­cal use of more than 20,000 med­i­ca­tions. We are ed­u­cated med­i­ca­tion ex­perts.

That ex­per­tise deep­ens our un­der­stand­ing of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and drugs ther­a­pies, in­clud­ing the po­ten­tial for ad­verse drug in­ter­ac­tions. We con­sult closely with our pa­tients’ physi­cians ev­ery day to en­sure that prescriptions we ful­fil will help en­sure pa­tient well-be­ing.

We take the trust our pa­tients place in us very se­ri­ously. As pro­fes­sion­als, we feel a duty of care to our pa­tients, their fam­i­lies and our com­mu­ni­ties. Part of that duty of care is to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively and clearly when new ser­vices be­come avail­able under the law. This has re­cently taken place when phar­ma­cists were granted the pre­scrib­ing au­thor­ity in re­la­tion to birth con­trol and blad­der in­fec­tions. — build­ing on moves in that di­rec­tion that have ben­e­fited pa­tients.

Our val­ued re­la­tion­ship with physi­cians is es­sen­tial to us. Phar­ma­cists wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to deepen these re­la­tion­ships, and to col­lab­o­rate more con­struc­tively on best prac­tices, com­pe­ten­cies, risks and ben­e­fits, al­ways with a view to im­prov­ing pa­tient care and im­prov­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of health-care de­liv­ery.

We are con­tin­u­ing our work with the prov­ince and our col­leagues across the health­care sec­tor to en­gen­der out­comes that can help — in Dr. Sivert­son’s words — “bring pro­fes­sions closer to­gether.” We are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing our pro­fes­sional best for pa­tients, while we con­trib­ute to the re­silience, in­no­va­tion, and ef­fi­ciency in our health­care sys­tem.

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