Dartmouth, N.S. – Almost one in five Nova Scotians used pharmacies to obtain healthcare services since the COVID-19 Pandemic reached Nova Scotia almost one year ago.
Pharmacists in the province wrote more than 165,000 prescription renewals for patients in 2020. This is on top of the almost 20,000 assessments done for shingles, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and birth control, and more than two hundred thousand flu shots.
“As we saw many offices and businesses close during the pandemic, every one of the 312 pharmacies in this province remained open to ensure Nova Scotians were able to access the services the needed,” says Allison Bodnar, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS). “Pharmacies adapted quickly to the pandemic, becoming an essential, and sometimes the only, walk-in healthcare option in their communities.”
Often the unsung heroes of the pandemic, pharmacy team members have suited up in PPE (masks, eye shields, gloves and gowns) to provide a wide-range of healthcare services during a time of high stress and high demand.
“As things have begun to reopen, we have found that some patients continue to have difficulty accessing healthcare or have concerns about going out to places during a pandemic that they would have gone to for help before,” says Diane Harpell, Chair of the Board of Directors of PANS. “Pharmacies have adapted by using all means available to them to ensure patient health and safely. Beyond strict safety measures in the pharmacy, many services can now also be provided through virtual means and supported by delivery services. Many pharmacies are also investing in other technologies to help support patients now and in the future.”
Access to healthcare continues to be an issue in this province, with more than 50,000 people without a family physician. Pharmacies help improve access to care. In addition to renewals, contraception, UTI and Shingles assessments, our pharmacy teams can help patients manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or mental illness, provide smoking cessation help, provide vaccinations, and assess and treat a number of minor ailments. In addition, pharmacies are now gearing up to play an integral part in the provincial COVID-19 immunization program.
March is traditionally celebrated as Pharmacy Awareness Month. This year, the month has been renamed Pharmacy Appreciation Month to recognize the outstanding efforts of our pharmacy team members who serve on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide care to patients with a broad range of healthcare needs. PANS will be celebrating the ongoing efforts of its membership throughout the month through social media.
PANS is the advocacy body for more than 1,200 practicing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Nova Scotia.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications
Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia
Tel: (902) 422-9583 ext 4
Twitter and Facebook: @PharmacyNS