BC Pharmacy Association CEO Geraldine Vance was invited to present on Canada’s Health Workforce to the federal Standing Committee on Health on Mar. 2, 2022.
Advocating for community pharmacists is the fundamental work of the Association. While the BCPhA’s focus is on matters related to B.C.’s provincial health system, the work we’ve been doing has caught the eye of other lawmakers.
BC Pharmacy Association CEO Geraldine Vance was invited to present on Canada’s Health Workforce to the federal Standing Committee on Health on Mar. 2, 2022. During her presentation, she took the opportunity to highlight the important role that community pharmacists have played as first point-of-contact for patients during the COVID pandemic, and the level of trust patients have for pharmacists.
In fact, polling regularly shows that Canadians support pharmacists in increasing the health care they provide. In a 2021 national survey, 90% of Canadians said that pharmacy professionals and pharmacies were essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three-in-four Canadians said pharmacists played a larger role in providing health care services than before the pandemic. The same survey showed that 93% of Canadians would trust pharmacists to be a first point of contact for the health-care system.
“What is concerning is that there remains a patchwork of coverage for patients seeking care from their community pharmacists,” Vance said. “Patients in one province can to their local pharmacist for a prescription for a UTI or cold sore. Meanwhile, patients in other provinces don’t have this same level of access.”
This is especially concerning for patients in rural and remote areas, who don’t have easy access to a family doctor, she said.
The BCPhA has long advocated for prescribing rights for pharmacists in B.C. and believes that a national scope of practice for pharmacists should be adopted across the country so all pharmacists can deliver care to their maximum level of expertise — including prescribing rights.
At her appearance Vance suggested the federal government engage with the Canadian Pharmacists Association and other provincial associations to develop a cross-country strategy and ultimately target funding to provinces to harmonize a standard of practice that improves care.
“If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that patients need access,” Vance said. “And all health care providers need all the support they can get so we’re better prepared for the next crisis that hits.”
To read BCPhA’s remarks to the House of Commons in full, visit bcpharmacy.ca/advocacy/submissions.