PEI·PEI Votes

P.E.I. Pharmacists Association wants clear commitments from Island parties

The P.E.I. Pharmacists Association says parties in the P.E.I. election are unclear about how they plan to better utilize the skills of pharmacists. 

Promises made for the upcoming election 'vague,' says association

'We have provided some information to all of the parties about what pharmacists can be doing in this province,' says Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association. (Atstock Productions/Shutterstock)

The P.E.I. Pharmacists Association says parties in the P.E.I. election have been unclear about how they plan to better utilize the skills of pharmacists. 

Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the association, said access to health care is a major concern for Islanders, with thousands without a family doctor and regular closures of emergency rooms and clinics in rural communities.

"I think that you know we were pleased to hear each of the parties in their platform make some mention to pharmacists but unfortunately the question still remains what would that look like."

Each party has made promises to expand the scope of pharmacists in their platforms, but MacKenzie said they are too vague.

Platform promises:

  • The Liberals say the party would: "Expand Scope of Service: Additionally, pharmacists scope of practice will be widened in a way that will allow these highly-trained health-care professionals to provide more services to Islanders."
  • The NDP says the party would: "Reduce pressure on physicians by more fully using other personnel — nurse practitioners, pharmacists midwives etc."
  • The PCs say the party would: "Broaden the scope of practice for nurse practitioners, RNs, RCWs, LPNs and pharmacists."
  • The Greens say the party would: "Provide health professionals with the opportunity to work to their full scope of practice including, but not limited to, pharmacists, midwives, and nurse practitioners."

If pharmacists were allowed to provide more services it would ease some of the pressure on the system, MacKenzie said.

"We have provided some information to all of the parties about what pharmacists can be doing in this province to help alleviate that access to care issue that we're seeing from one tip of the province to the other."

Examples from other provinces show pharmacists have been able to really help alleviate the wait times, MacKenzie said, and she would like to see more concrete commitments in the 2019 provincial election.

The association wants pharmacists able to provide the care they were trained for in school, says MacKenzie. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

"First and foremost we would like to be involved in the health policy planning program process."

The association also wants pharmacists to be able to provide the care they were trained for in school, such as prescribing for common ailments and offering preventative therapies, MacKenzie said.

Patients shouldn't have to choose

She also doesn't want to see people choose between paying for a service or going to a hospital so that same service is covered by the province.

"So if we are assessing and prescribing for a woman who is looking for oral contraception for example, that service would be covered under the province the same as it would be if they were to go to another health-care provider for the exact same service."

Pharmacists want to know what the vision is, so the association has sent a policy questionnaire to each of the parties. Mackenzie said she is hoping those will come back before the April 23 election.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Angela Walker

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