Pharmacists can now help treat some common ailments, saving you a trip to your doctor’s office. The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce helped make this happen.
The province announced a new healthcare initiative, expanding the role pharmacists play in patient care. The growing portfolio of pharmacists is something the Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying towards for some time.
In 2008, the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber developed a Policy Resolution titled “Addressing Access Bottlenecks to Primary Health Care.” While the document suggested several strategies, the first outcome was the Provincial Government approving Pharmacists to administer flu shots in 2012. Now, Ontario pharmacists can renew prescriptions for most medications and offer prescriptions for common illnesses and conditions.
Last month, they began prescribing the COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid.
Pharmacists can now offer prescriptions for:
• hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
• oral thrush (candidal stomatitis)
• pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic and viral)
• dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact)
• menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
• acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD))
• cold sores (herpes labialis)
• insect bites and hives
• tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease)
• sprains and strains (musculoskeletal)
• urinary tract infections (UTIs)
A recent study from the University of Waterloo stated, “more than one-third (34.8%) of avoidable visits could potentially be managed by a pharmacist.”
The Peterborough Examiner reported in 2021 that 11,000 people in Peterborough were without a family doctor and an additional 22 doctors were expected to retire over the next few years.
This expanded role could cut down on clinic and emergency room visits. With an alternative health care option for those in need with smaller ailments, this could cause offer some relief to the medical industry.
However, because of the time needed to deliver this service, some of the smaller independent pharmacies in Ontario with limited staff might find this challenging. Patient assessments take time, and are not something all locations are equipped to deal with. With growing responsibilities and a world-wide drug shortage on the tail end of the pandemic, many pharmacists have reported staff shortages and burnout. To address this, each location can decide on how they will implement this service. Either a delayed start, or on an ailment-by-ailment basis.
This service is free for Ontarians with a health card.
For the full news release from the Premier’s office, visit https://bit.ly/ONrelease