ELMSDALE: The Elmsdale Guardian pharmacy will be home to a new pilot program aimed at increasing primary care access launching province-wide at 14 new locations on May 1.
The pilot program is one of the provincial government’s solutions to increase access to primary care and support the broader healthcare system, said Hants East MLA John A. MacDonald.
There are already 12 pharmacy clinics operating in the province.
Pharmacists at the Elmsdale Guardian location will have a greatly expanded scope, allowing them to set aside time where they can help patients with common illnesses, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular and lung diseases. They can also diagnose and treat strep throat, a service previously unavailable through pharmacies.
“We’re committed to building a more accessible healthcare system, and this expansion is a step in the right direction,” said MLA MacDonald. “I’m excited to see the positive impact this program will have on the lives of so many people in our community.”
In Elmsdale, the post office outlet in the store closed; that spot is where the primary care clinic will be located.
Robin Ogilvie, pharmacist, and Director of Pharmacy Operations said they are ecstatic about the opportunity to participate in something like in their neighbourhood.
“This pharmacy care clinic will make a big difference on healthcare delivery in our community,” said Ogilvie. “We’re happy to offer this service to those who need it.
“We’re looking forward to more clinical interactions and to see this project expand.
“We’ve got a big team ready to roll and we’re excited to see our impact.”
The Community Pharmacy Primary Care Clinic program will expand to 26 locations from 12. Nine new locations are opening May 1, with five more by the end of May.
Independent of a doctor, these pharmacists will now be authorized to prescribe medications for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“Pharmacists live and work in our communities and are one of the most accessible healthcare providers in Nova Scotia,” said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health, on behalf of Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health, and Wellness.
“As our province and population quickly grow, we’re expanding how and where Nova Scotians can receive primary care close to home.”
The first 12 community pharmacy primary care clinics launched in February. Since then, these clinics have provided more than 9,000 services to more than 5,000 Nova Scotians.
In Lower Sackville, before the end of May residents will have increased access with the launch of the program at the Shoppers Drug Mart, Sackville-Cobequid MLA Steve Craig said.
“With increased accessibility to healthcare services, our residents will have the peace of mind knowing that quality care is readily available,” said MLA Craig. “This expansion is a critical step forward in creating a healthier and more equitable province for all.”
In all pharmacies in the province, some of these services are currently provided at no cost. This includes the assessment and treatment for urinary tract infections as well as shingles, contraception, Lyme disease prevention and prescription renewals.
Pharmacists in these clinics can treat and prescribe medication for patients with common illnesses or who have chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They can also provide care for strep throat, including diagnosis and treatment.
The complete list of services and information on booking appointments are available at: https://pans.ns.ca/cppcc