I’m all for this, assuming it’s well thought through and administered, of course. Not for reasons of my own convenience like the government seems to be suggesting here, but because anything that’s going to free up doctors to deal more personally with patients is hard to argue against.
If you’ve needed a doctor or have had to watch someone go through the medical system, you may have noticed that there’s at times far too much emphasis put on getting people out the door as quickly as possible rather than on listening, investigating and treating. People go to their doctor, obviously sick and in need of help, and the attitude they get is sometimes less of a how can I help you and more of a what do you expect me to do about it, why are you bothering me? I know at least a couple of people who, after dealing with illnesses themselves as best they can for days or weeks and getting nowhere, have gone in only to be told to basically rub some dirt on it and come back if they’re still shitty in another three weeks.
This isn’t because all of the doctors suck. Some of them do, but most of the time the problem is that their caseloads are absolutely nuts and there’s just no time for anything. If there’s a way to reduce that without negatively affecting care, why not do it? And if you’re going to do it, there probably isn’t a better group of people to put the responsibility in the hands of than pharmacists. They’re already the ones giving you the important details after your doctor throws a piece of paper at you and says here, take these, so why shouldn’t they be trusted with the flu shot or the weapons grade cough drops? They’re a readily available resource (think about how many drugstores there are in the average city/town), so why not use them to their fullest potential?
Pharmacists in Ontario could one day prescribe treatments for minor health issues such as pink eye or skin rashes.
The Progressive Conservative government announced in its recent budget that it intends to expand the scope of practice for certain regulated health professionals, such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners, dental specialists and optometrists.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday it’s about convenience for patients.
“Sometimes people aren’t able to get in to see their physician, for example, during the course of the day, but they can go in on weekends, they can go in the evenings to see the pharmacist,” she said. “If it’s a low-grade issue, then we believe that there are certain things that pharmacists should be able to treat.”
Pharmacists may also be allowed to administer the flu vaccine to children under five, Elliott said.
The specifics will have to be hammered out with the health professionals’ colleges and governing bodies, she said, and it could take up to a year for any changes to be in place. Additional training would likely be required.