Saturday, September 24, 2022

New walk-in pharmacist run clinic looks to help alleviate healthcare pressures in Lethbridge

Alberta’s first pharmacist run walk-in clinic will open in Lethbridge on Monday inside the Real Canadian Superstore. It will offer a range of services to patients, including assessment and treatment of common injuries and illnesses. 

“I know that primary care, access to healthcare services, has been an issue across the province for some time, however pharmacists continue to demonstrate their ability to provide meaningful clinical support to the community,” said Jeff Leger, head of pharmacy at Loblaws Companies Limited and president of Shoppers Drug Mart. “[A]  pharmacist walk-in clinic will allow us to leverage that expanded scope of practise, improving access to care for patients.”

Along with opening the dedicated clinical space, Loblaws is providing a $500,000 grant to the University of Alberta to enable research and evaluate new models of care provided by pharmacists. The company said it will also enable opportunities for pharmacy students to complete clinical placements in a unique, community-based clinic environment.

“This endeavor by Loblaw and the University of Alberta’s faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences is an exciting one for our students, faculty and the Lethbridge community,” said Interim Dean, Christine Hughes. “The Pharmacist walk-in clinic will provide our students with fantastic opportunities for experiential learning and collaboration as well as serve as a key primary care location making healthcare more accessible to the people of Lethbridge.”

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The clinic in will open with a single pharmacist, but plans are in place to expand to meet demand, which is expected to be high, according to Justin Jensen, clinic lead pharmacy manager. “This is extremely exciting. For myself, I’ve always practiced pharmacy with the direction of trying to have a focus on clinical services, trying to move beyond the traditional dispensary,” he said.

Pharmacists will be able to assist patients with minor illnesses, chronic disease management and administer medication via injection at the site.

“This pilot project builds on the capacity of community pharmacy teams to improve access to primary care,” said Alberta health minister Jason Copping. “Pharmacists have the knowledge and expertise to contribute more to the primary care team and government recognizes that. In fact, the province of Alberta has the broadest scope of practice in Canada.”

Copping said it is hoped the first of its kind clinic will set a precedent in Alberta and across the country by showing the role pharmacists can play in the healthcare system.

Patients will be able to make appointments and get walk-in service  starting June 27 and the clinic will be open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Justin Jenson, clinic lead pharmacy manager will run a new pharmacist walk-in clinic at the Real Canadian Superstore. (Photo by Tyler Hay)
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