ARTHUR – Pharmacist Joe Walsh believes people in his business can help save money in frontline health care.
“The government doesn’t ask the people on the front line how to save money,” Walsh told Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott and Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, who visited his store in Arthur on Aug. 18.
The visit was part of a recently launched “Healthcare Closer to Home: Improving Access to Quality Care, Across Canada” campaign.
Walsh points out regulations that now allow pharmacists to give flu shots have already saved money with patients not needing to take up a physician’s time for flu shot appointments. The pharmacist said the procedure could be expanded to include travel vaccines.
The focus of the campaign is to expand services provided by pharmacists in their local communities at less cost to the overall health care system.
“It’s one-stop shopping,” Walsh said of the services his business provides.
A campaign press release from the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores states, “The specialized training of Canada’s pharmacists makes them a knowledgeable, regulated and most importantly, accessible, resource.
Walsh said about 150 residents were vaccinated against the flu last year at his store and he expects that number will climb to 200 this year. Across Canada the number of patients receiving flu vaccinations at pharmacies, as opposed to doctors’ offices, has climbed from 125,000 to 750,000.
Walsh said assisting his customers at the pharmacy with advice on medicine use is important. “That gives seniors the independence so they can stay at home,” he said.
Walsh estimates he makes about three home visits a day to look in on his customers and give them any health- related advice. During the visits he can discuss medications used by the individual and check blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
“It’s about getting the information out to seniors,” he said.