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NBers Overwhelmingly Support Expanded Role for Pharmacists
Thursday, May 23, 2013

New survey reveals NBers support pharmacists treating minor ailments and believe ‘significant’ tax savings can be found by better using pharmacists’ skills

Fredericton, N.B. – An overwhelming majority of New Brunswickers support pharmacists playing a greater role in delivering more health care services to patients, a new survey shows.

A survey released today by the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association found that 85 per cent of New Brunswickers are in favor of pharmacists delivering some urgent, but non-critical, health care services that are currently delivered by doctors or emergency rooms. Seven-in-ten New Brunswickers (70%) believe the province would likely “save significant amounts of tax dollars” by increasing the use of pharmacists within the health care system.

“This survey clearly shows that New Brunswickers think highly of pharmacists, value the health care they provide and want them to do even more for patients,” says Alistair Bursey, President of the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association. “Pharmacists could easily ease the pressure in crowded ERs and doctor’s offices by treating non-urgent minor ailments such as cold sores, bug bites, diaper rashes and acne. Patients shouldn’t have to go to the ER for a bug bite or a rash. They could be cared for faster and at less cost by a pharmacist. Ensuring patients have access to the right care, by the right provider, at the right time will improve patient care and save valuable health dollars.”

New Brunswickers were asked how likely they would seek out a pharmacist to treat nine different types of urgent but non-critical forms of health care services that are currently only available through a doctor’s office or an emergency room. The treatment of coughs and colds (92%), acne and other skin conditions (88%), and menstrual and pre-menstrual pains (85%) top the list of urgent health care services that could be provided by pharmacists. New Brunswickers would also seek out pharmacists for the treatment of minor sprains and muscle strains (71%), monitoring chronic health conditions (71%) or the delivery of preventative health measures, such as quitting tobacco consumption or asthma counselling (83%).

“Health care costs are soaring. We know the health care system has to change, including the way pharmacists work. This survey clearly shows that New Brunswickers are ready for that change and that they believe tax dollars can be saved by better using the skills of pharmacists,” says NBPA Executive Director Paul Blanchard. “Pharmacists want to work with the NB government on a compensation agreement that includes an expanded role for pharmacists.

We’re urging the province to reinvest the savings it will see from its generic drug pricing policy into expanded pharmacy services such as a minor ailment program. The time for change is now.”

The survey found that women (73%) and Francophones (73%) are slightly more likely than men (67%) or Anglophones (68%) to believe that the increased use of pharmacists would likely result in significant cost savings within the health care system. Residents of Saint John (78% overall, 35% very likely) and those in household with total annual incomes greater than $100,000 (73% overall, 42% very likely) are the most likely to believe that significant savings would accrue from increasing the use of pharmacists within the health care system. Aside from these findings, belief that significant savings would accrue from an increased use of pharmacists and pharmacy services in health care is fairly uniform across New Brunswick, including New Brunswickers without drug benefit coverage (69%).

Pharmacists from across New Brunswick will gather at the Delta Hotel in Fredericton this weekend for the 2013 New Brunswick Pharmacy Conference, which includes professional development sessions, a trade show and an annual awards dinner recognizing pharmacists who make outstanding contributions to their communities and to their profession.

The NBPA commissioned Continuum Research to conduct the survey. Results are based on a telephone survey of 800 adult New Brunswickers conducted between April 18th and 30th, 2013. Results are accurate to within +/-3.5 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. A stratified random sample and quotas were used to ensure the proper allocation of interviews by community size, gender and maternal language. All research work undertaken by Continuum Research is conducted in accordance with the standards and guidelines of good practice established by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA), the professional association of the public opinion research community in Canada.

Please see attached tables for more detailed survey results.

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Contact: Paul Blanchard
Executive Director
New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association (506) 459-6008
nbpa@nbnet.nb.ca.

 

FREQUENCY OF PHARMACY VISITS
Once a week 6%
Several times a month 19%
Once a month 31%
Once every three months 24%
Once or twice a year 17%
Less than once a year 2%
Never go to a pharmacy 1%
DK/NA 0%

 

IMPORTANCE OF PHARMACY TO HOUSEHOLD
Very important 63%
Somewhat important 33%
Not very important 3%
Not at all important 1%
DK/NA 0%
PERCEPTION OF PHARMACISTS
  Total Gender
Male Female
Very positive 66% 61% 71%
Somewhat positive 25% 29% 22%
Neither positive nor negative 6% 8% 4%
Somewhat negative 1% 1% 1%
Very negative 1% 1% 1%
DK/NA (VOL) 1% 1% 0%

 

VALUE FOR FEES CHARGED
Excellent 35%
Good 39%
Fair 12%
Poor 2%
DK/NA 11%

 

IMPORTANCE OF PHARMACISTS TO HEALTH CARE DELIVERY
Very important 78%
Somewhat important 21%
Not very important 1%
Not at all important 0%
DK/NA (VOL) 0%

 

LIKELIHOOD THAT INCREASED USE OF PHARMACISTS COULD SAVE SIGNIFICANT MONEY IN HEALTH CARE
Very likely 32%
Somewhat likely 38%
Not very likely 15%
Not at all likely 6%
DK/NA (VOL) 9%

 

SUPPORT/OPPOSE ALLOWING PHARMACISTS TO TREAT URGENT, BUT NOT CRITICAL, HEALTH CARE SERVICES
Strongly support 50%
Somewhat support 35%
Somewhat oppose 7%
Strongly oppose 4%
DK/NA (VOL) 4%

 

LIKELIHOOD OF PHARMACIST USE BY URGENT CARE CATEGORY
  Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not Very Likely Not at all Likely DK/NA
Coughs and Colds 71% 21% 5% 3% 0%
Pre-Menstrual or Menstrual Pains 65% 20% 5% 6% 5%
Acne, Cold Sores & Skin Conditions 62% 26% 5% 5% 1%
Vaccinations 58% 25% 9% 8% 1%
Preventative Health Measures 55% 28% 8% 6% 4%
Monitoring Chronic Conditions 42% 29% 16% 11% 1%
Minor Sprains and Muscle Strains 41% 30% 18% 11% 1%
Blood and Urine Tests 37% 24% 23% 15% 1%
Screening for STDs 27% 22% 26% 21% 3%