Canadians support increased role for pharmacists

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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By Erin MacKenzie (guest opinion)

March 2015 marks Pharmacist Awareness Month (PEM) in Canada, a month long period to celebrate and educate Canadians on the contribution that pharmacists make in the delivery of quality health care. The theme for 2015, “Pharmacists: Trusted care when and where you need it,” conveys the message that pharmacists not only are trusted leaders in the provision of frontline care, but as the most accessible health-care providers in Canada, they are able to provide quality care conveniently and quickly.

In a national poll of over 2,900 Canadians conducted by Abacus Data in February 2015 to mark PAM, 82 per cent of respondents believed Canadians’ quality of life would increase if pharmacists were more included in the health care teams and 85 per cent believed an enhanced role for pharmacists would result in less overcrowding in emergency wait rooms. A clear majority of Canadians believe that the health-care system would be improved by enhancing the role of pharmacists in the delivery of health-care services.

Furthermore, 96 per cent of respondents had a positive impression of pharmacists, with 82 per cent of respondents stating their belief that pharmacists played a central or important role in the delivery of health care. Some 79 per cent of respondents agreed that if pharmacists worked more closely with doctors, it would reduce overall health-care costs, and 84 per cent believed that pharmacists working with other members of a health-care team to provide care to patients with chronic diseases care would result in better health outcomes.

Over the past several years, the number and scope of services that pharmacists can provide to patients has increased significantly. The survey being released today demonstrates Canadians’ support for these expanded services as well as an even more enhanced role for pharmacists in the delivery of health- care services.

Pharmacists in Prince Edward Island can renew and extend prescriptions, deliver flu shots, deliver smoking cessation programs, conduct extensive medication management services, and prescribe for certain minor ailments and conditions. These additional services not only provide better care and service to Canadians, but by locating care more accessibly in the community, pharmacists are helping to create a more sustainable health- care system for all Canadians.

More information about this survey, including provincial-specific results, can be located on the Pharmacists Awareness Month 2015 website at


Erin MacKenzie is executive director, P.E.I. Pharmacists Association.

Organizations: Abacus Data

Geographic location: Canada, Prince Edward Island

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