I Care About My Pharmacist

I Care About My Pharmacist

April 10, 2012 08:00 ET

I Care About My Pharmacist: Community Pharmacists Voice Their Concerns

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 10, 2012) - Pharmacists in Alberta do not oppose reducing the price of drugs. However, the funding cuts proposed by Alberta Health and Wellness and the Conservative Party negatively impact our ability to practice and will result in a significant reduction in patient health care services and potentially the closure of pharmacies in rural Alberta.

In 2010, community pharmacists were vocal in their concerns over cuts to pharmacy funding that would adversely affect the health care they could provide Albertans.

The Conservative Government promised a new funding model that would ensure pharmacies would be able to not only maintain but expand health services to their communities.

A Transition Team was established with representatives from pharmacy and the government. The Team was asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Everyone at the table agreed to sign except for a group of independent community pharmacists who insisted that they needed to take information back to their members and their communities so that any decisions had full consultation and transparency.

We were banned from meetings because of our refusal to sign the NDA.

The Minister of Health and Wellness had to intervene so that we could continue to be part of the Team.

On February 13th, 2012, Alberta Health and Wellness announced more changes that will have a further detrimental impact on the services that pharmacists provide Albertans. In spite of warnings from pharmacists to the Conservative government about the serious impact these changes will have on patient care and the communities that pharmacies serve, the announcement focused on cost savings not on providing for the health needs of Albertans.

While all pharmacies will be impacted by these changes, rural communities with limited access to pharmacy services will experience the greatest impact.

The Transition Team began meeting again and once more the independent community pharmacy representative was asked to sign an NDA. We refused for the same reasons as we did in 2010.

Again the new Minister of Health and Wellness had to intervene to ensure we had a voice at the negotiating table.

Pharmacists were promised a new funding model.

The Conservative Government broke their promise to pharmacists yet again.

The writ was dropped and we have no agreement in writing.

There is no comprehensive funding model in place.

All we have is empty promises from the Conservative Party.

Jody Shkrobot, community pharmacist member of the Transition Team, said, "The Conservative Party has once again failed to implement a mutually agreeable compensation model that would guarantee Albertans will continue to receive the same care from their pharmacists tomorrow as they do today."

Al Hodgins, CEO of Value Drug Mart Associates, announced that after considerable consultation with their members, they have registered with Elections Alberta and will be launching a media campaign in urban and rural Alberta to ensure that Albertans fully understand the risks to their health care with a Conservative Government.

"We know that Albertans care deeply about their health care and we know that pharmacists care about Albertans", said Hodgins. "Albertans deserve the best health care system in Canada but the Conservative government has proven that they don't share our views."

It's time for all Albertans to show the Progressive Conservative Party that they really do care about their pharmacists.

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