Health Minister Dustin Duncan introduced legislative amendments, October 30, that will expand the scope of practice for Saskatchewan pharmacists, benefiting residents through more efficient and accessible health care services.
“All health care providers, including pharmacists, play an increasingly important role by working to their full scopes of practice on a collaborative team,” Duncan said. “In the spirit of putting the patient first, I believe that expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice will give patients even greater and more timely access to health services.”
Expected to take effect later next year, the amendments will allow pharmacists to administer vaccines and drugs, such as flu shots and vitamin B12 injections. In addition, the amendments will enable pharmacists to order, access and use laboratory tests, working in collaboration with physicians.
As pharmacists move into a more clinically focused role, some pharmacy technicians will undertake additional training to become regulated under the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists and assume a number of the pharmacist’s technical duties, such as dispensing. Amendments to the Act will allow for the regulation of pharmacy technicians to ensure they are able to independently perform many of these duties within pharmacies in a safe and effective manner.
Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists Registrar Ray Joubert said the College will work “to ensure appropriate standards and training are in place so that these services are delivered safely and properly co-ordinated within the health system. This will include ensuring that pharmacy technicians are appropriately qualified to assume responsibility for their important supportive role of the pharmacist.”
Pharmacists’ Association of Saskatchewan Executive Director Dawn Martin said. “Pharmacists being able to order and access lab results will help ensure patients are getting the health outcomes expected with their drug therapies. This is another example of how pharmacists can provide innovative patient services within the health care system and to the benefit of Saskatchewan people.”
These amendments build on other changes to pharmacists’ scope of practice. In 2011, Saskatchewan pharmacists were given the authority to prescribe medications to patients for specific minor ailments, extend refills on existing prescriptions, and provide emergency supplies of prescribed medications, while working in a collaborative practice environment.
There are approximately 1,400 pharmacists practising in Saskatchewan.