TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 21, 2014) - In advance of the June election in Ontario, the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) is urging its members, and all pharmacy professionals, to speak to candidates in their ridings and support those who are committed to furthering pharmacists' role in the provision of accessible, cost-effective patient care.
"Today, pharmacists are able to deliver more services than ever before to our patients, but Ontario continues to lag behind other provinces in how it uses pharmacists to support patients and the healthcare system," said Carlo Berardi, Chair of the Board at the Ontario Pharmacists Association.
Specifically, pharmacists are being asked to promote the priorities that OPA has put forward to all parties in the Ontario election, specifically, pharmacists should be allowed, and funded, to provide:
- Routine injections over and above the flu shot, including travel vaccinations, and immunizations for shingles and HPV;
- Treatment for common ailments such as pink eye or poison ivy; and
- Smoking cessation programs for all Ontarians, not just those on the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.
Each of these services represents an important opportunity to directly benefit patient health and well-being, and to support a more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable healthcare system - and each is already being offered by pharmacists in other provinces, including Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association and its members will be examining the platforms of the three major parties to determine which offers the best improvements to Ontario health care, as well as the greatest opportunity for pharmacists to more fully use their expertise to positively affect the health of patients across the province.
By moving care closer to the community, the whole healthcare system benefits. For example, since 2012 when pharmacists' scope of practice was expanded to include administration of the flu vaccine, nearly one million Ontarians have received their flu shot at their local pharmacy - more than 750,000 in the 2013-14 flu season alone. This is indicative of the public's trust in pharmacists' capabilities, and recognition that pharmacists are skilled at much more than dispensing medications.
"Utilizing pharmacists to provide a wider range of healthcare services to Ontarians will help reduce wait times in both doctors' offices and hospitals, improve efficiencies through better allocation of scarce healthcare dollars, and ensure patients receive the effective and convenient care they deserve," added Berardi. "The Ontario Pharmacists Association is encouraging our members to deliver this message to all political candidates, and to support those individuals and parties that share in that vision."
About the Ontario Pharmacists Association
The Ontario Pharmacists Association is committed to evolving the pharmacy profession, and advocating for excellence in practice and optimum health care for all Ontario patients. As the largest advocacy organization, and continuing education and drug information provider for pharmacy professionals in Canada, the association represents more than 14,500 pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians across Ontario. By leveraging the unique expertise of pharmacy professionals, by enabling them to practice to their fullest potential, and by making them more accessible to all Ontarians, OPA and its more than 8,200 members are working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the province's healthcare system.
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