Canada's pharmacists calling for more investment in community-based care ahead of first ministers' meeting
February 3, 2023 (Ottawa): As Canada’s premiers are set to meet next week to discuss health-care funding, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is urging the federal government to ensure that any increases to the Canada Health Transfer incorporate investment in community-based care, including the expansion of health-care services through pharmacy.
“Our health-care systems are struggling across Canada and the need to inject new funding across all its sectors is evident,” says Dr. Danielle Paes, Chief Pharmacist Officer, CPhA. “While there is a critical need to strengthen and support the care delivered at hospitals and acute care settings, pharmacists also see a significant need for increased community-based care.”
According to a recent survey conducted by Abacus Data, 94% of Canadians agree that governments need to expand and fund community-based care, like health services available through pharmacies, and 90% of Canadians think pharmacists can help address gaps in care caused by the current shortage of health-care providers.
Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to help reduce the strain on our primary and acute care settings, redirecting people who would otherwise present at emergency rooms or doctors’ offices. For example, in Prince Edward Island alone, more than 11,000 Islanders visited their community pharmacist to access care for common ailments or renew eligible prescriptions over the first three months since the launch of a new funding program.
With nearly half of Canadians currently managing a chronic disease, like diabetes or hypertension, millions of Canadians rely on community health providers for their care. Public health services, preventative care, and sexual and reproductive care are also almost entirely provided in community settings. Appropriately funding and expanding the scope of pharmacists would help alleviate the strain on emergency rooms, walk-in clinics, and doctors’ offices by allowing Canadians to visit their local pharmacies in many cases.
“Over the past year we have seen more and more provincial governments acknowledge the value of pharmacists and invest resources to support health-care delivery through community pharmacies,” added Paes. “We’ve seen funding for Paxlovid prescribing, prescription renewal/extending, assessments for common ailments, smoking cessation, hormonal contraception, and UTIs. When appropriately funded, these services are sustainable and promote equitable access to care in our communities.”
Canada’s pharmacy teams are already making a huge impact across the country to improve access to care and reduce the strain on other areas of our health system. With further investments, we can continue to leverage and expand the care delivered at thousands of pharmacies in our communities.
About the Canadian Pharmacists Association
The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians.
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Senior Manager, Communications
Canadian Pharmacists Association