DAN CEARNS, The Standard
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: As of January 1st, the Ontario government has given pharmacists some new authority.
In a recent press release, the Ontario Ministry of Health announced, Ontario residents can go directly to pharmacies to “receive prescriptions for thirteen common ailments.”
These ailments include: hay fever, oral thrush, pink eye, dermatitis, menstrual cramps, acid reflux, hemorrhoids, cold sores, impetigo, insect bites and hives, tick bites, sprains and strains and urinary tract infections.
The press release explained, this decision would remove the need for “a doctor’s office visit and will come at no extra cost to Ontarians.”
Local Port Perry pharmacist Doug Brown told The Standard, he is thrilled with this decision. “Yes, we are excited about this initiative and look forward to providing timely and high-quality care to patients. Pharmacists have extensive training in dealing with minor ailments, and are more than capable of supporting this important provision of primary care to the residents of Ontario. It should be noted that, although this service is new to Ontario, most of the other provinces have had Pharmacist-led minor ailment prescribing for years, with documented positive outcomes for patients nationwide. We are not reinventing the wheel here in Ontario, by any means,” he explained. “Although patients are used to the highly accessible nature of their pharmacist, the time required for proper assessment of a minor ailment will take longer than just asking to speak to the pharmacist at the counter. In many cases, an appointment will need to be made, with most available the same day. It should also be noted, providing minor ailment prescribing is optional for pharmacists, and not all of them will be providing this service. Patients should call ahead to their pharmacy to check for availability.”
In a statement, Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, explained the benefits of this decision.
“Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise, to assess and treat minor ailments, helps patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home: but the benefits go much further. It reduces demand on hospitals, emergency departments, walk-in clinics and family physicians. It also frees up time for our healthcare partners, allowing doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to focus on more complex care cases.”