Association, province hammering out compensation details before signing off
A third of Canadians say theyll get the flu shot, compared with 45 per cent in late August, according to a poll by The Canadian Press and Harris-Decima. Associated Press photo.
There are few excuses left why some Islanders can’t get easy access to a flu shot. There will be even fewer reasons if the province and the Prince Edward Island Pharmacists Association finalize a deal. The association is lobbying the provincial government for permission to offer flu shots to Islanders at local pharmacies. With a network in many urban and rural communities, pharmacies will offer greater convenience and access for both young and old.
It’s just a matter of how pharmacists will be compensated by the province before the program takes effect. Flu shots are now mostly available at walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices. Both involve appointments and wait times and that’s enough to keep some Islanders from accessing a flu shot and getting protection from a nagging illness over the winter.
Pharmacists say they are interested in easing a major health-care issue, which is easy access to care. These health care providers can certainly improve access and immunization rates.
Surveys rate pharmacists as among the most trusted professionals and Islanders should easily accept getting a flu shot as easy as picking up a prescription. Most Islanders visit a pharmacy on a regular basis for any number of medical and shopping needs. This would be just another option on the list.
P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie supports an increased role for pharmacists in providing services to Islanders so it's just a matter of settling the compensation issue. The service is offered in other provinces so it shouldn’t be an issue here, but one asks the question why the delay? Hopefully this matter will be resolved sooner than later. Both sides hope the deal will be in place by the fall of 2014. A year from now seems like a long time to wait for something both sides basically agree on.
Meanwhile, while negotiations with pharmacists continue, Mr. Currie is encouraging Islanders to get their flu shot, repeating the mantra that vaccination is recognized as the single most effective way of reducing the impact of influenza, especially for those most at risk. It’s an annual job selling the message to Islanders as it’s the best defence against the spread of the influenza virus to yourself, your family and your community.
Flu shots are only one of several health services Island pharmacists would like to be able to offer under an expanded scope of practice. Another is the ability to fill additional non-narcotic prescriptions without forcing ill people to wait for hours to see a doctor, who then takes one minute to write a simple refill. The health legislation to allow this has passed, but the Pharmacists Association is still waiting for specific provincial regulations outlining what they can and cannot do.
50th anniversary or bust
Some people have their braids in a twist over the anniversary involving Anne of Green Gables – The Musical and, to a lesser degree, the Confederation Centre of the Arts. The Confederation Centre was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on Oct. 6, 1964. So its 50th birthday is next year, 2014.
As part of its mandate to showcase the best in Canadian visual and performing arts, the centre has played host to the Charlottetown Festival every summer since 1965, with a tribute to its host province by staging Canada's most popular and longest-running mainstage musical, Anne of Green Gables — The Musical.
Anne of Green Gables will have its 50th year of production next summer. That’s all anyone has ever said – 50th birthday for the centre, and the 50th year of staging Anne. It’s pretty simple really. Do the math, count the years down on your fingers or just think about it logically. But get over it.