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NB pharmacist care clinic program promises increased access to healthcare

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Jul 26, 2023

Category: DataNB

Hoping to address the long-standing struggle of reliable healthcare access in the province, a 12-month pilot project seeks to revolutionize healthcare services in New Brunswick. Starting on August 1st, 2023, pharmacists will have increased authority to assess chronic conditions and prescribe treatments at two NB pharmacies, with four more locations beginning operations by September 18th. Pharmacists' expanded authority will enable them to test and prescribe for strep, and assess and prescribe for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and cardiovascular disease.

Spearheaded by the New Brunswick Department of Health in collaboration with the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists and the New Brunswick Pharmacy Association, this initiative has the potential to keep thousands of patients out of walk-in clinics, doctors' offices and emergency rooms. Anne Marie Picone, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association, is optimistic for the program, stating, “Pharmacists are trained, highly qualified health-care professionals, ready to deliver more accessible primary health care in community pharmacies.”

NB-IRDT will play a key role in evaluating the success of this project. The Institute will monitor and evaluate the impact on patient health, health system outcomes associated with the services provided in the clinics, the experience of patients who use the service and the pharmacists who provide care. Dr. Chris Folkins, NB-IRDT Research Scientist and Registered Pharmacist sees this healthcare transformation as significant for New Brunswick: "The Pharmacist Care Clinic program presents an innovative potential solution to the challenges in access to primary care faced by our province."

With the pilot project marking a big first step towards more inclusive healthcare in New Brunswick, all eyes are on the progress and benefits it will bring to the province’s residents. As the program rolls out, the hope is that it will pave the way for enhanced healthcare access and services, setting a precedent for similar initiatives in the future.