Nova Scotia expands the role of pharmacists in patient care
February 8, 2023
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia is piloting the provision of healthcare services through pharmacists located at 12 pharmacies across the province, with more locations expected in the spring. The program is designed to speed up the care received by patients and reduce the pressure on hospital ERs.
The Community Pharmacy Primary Care Clinics program will see patients with common illnesses and people who are on medications for chronic diseases like diabetes, and cardiovascular and lung disease.
They will also provide care for strep throat, including testing, diagnosis and treatment, something that has not been available through pharmacies previously.
“We need to change how we deliver healthcare to help Nova Scotians get the care they need faster,” said Michelle Thompson (pictured), Minister of Health and Wellness.
“Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals,” she said. “We’re building and testing a system where they can use all their training and skills to give people the care they need, in a place that’s often the closest place to home – their pharmacy. In doing this, we will help people stay well, and free up emergency departments for emergencies.”
Pharmacists at the pilot locations will also be able to prescribe and manage medications for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The pharmacies under this pilot will receive additional funding for providing added care, including assessing and prescribing for 31 minor ailments such as minor joint and muscle pains, eczema, cold sores and heartburn.
Nova Scotia is investing just under $1 million in this pilot. Assessment and treatment records will be held by the pharmacy or provided to the patient, unless the patient has a family physician or nurse practitioner following their care.
The complete list of services and information on booking appointments are available at https://pans.ns.ca/cppcc.
Some care services are already available at no cost to patients at all pharmacies in the province, including assessment and treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections and shingles, contraception, Lyme disease prevention and prescription renewals.
Improving access to primary care is part of Action for Health, the government’s broader plan to improve healthcare.