Westmount Pharmacy, Peterborough ON
By Sarah Frank
Murad Younis knows he's got the knowledge and experience behind him to take minor tasks and responsibilities off physicians' shoulders -- as long as the government lets him.
During a visit from Peterorough MPP Jeff Leal and the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada on Wednesday (Nov. 12) the chief pharmacist at Westmount Pharmacy explained he's happy about how his role has expanded in recent years -- but says he can do more.
In an effort to expand the scope of pharmacists across Canada, the Ontario government started implementing new rules around pharmacists' work in 2010. In Ontario, it's allowed pharmacists to give immunizations and injections, adapt and alter medications on prescriptions to suit clients' needs and renew prescriptions for medications so patients who are in need don't go without while they try to get an appointment with their family doctor.
Mr. Younis says the changes are for the better, especially changes to rules that allow him and other pharmacists to have follow-up communication with clients, since he can develop a better relationships.
He views pharmacists as gate keepers -- they can recommend medications, consult with patients and have the authority to hand over medication for chronic illness and for routine medication when a patient runs out.
Still, he says he would welcome additional authority, to diagnose minor ailments, for example. He says it would alleviate pressure on physicians and would make care more accessible in neighbourhoods.
"It's not appropriate (for pharmacists) to have all the skills, the experience and the competencies… and you ask the family physician to do the job all by themselves."
MP Leal says pharmacies act as community hubs, and its important residents know about how their local pharmacies can help them.