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Ensuring your patient’s access to care

May 16, 2018
It is a pharmacy professional’s responsibility to either provide or facilitate access to care for any patient.

The Alberta College of Pharmacists recognizes that not all pharmacies or pharmacy professionals provide all types of pharmacy care. For example, compounding, opioid replacement therapy, or training for the public to use Take Home Naloxone Kits are not available at every pharmacy.

However, ACP reminds pharmacy professionals that you have an obligation to your patients to provide care that you are able to provide and, when you are unable to provide care, you are responsible for facilitating your patients’ access to care.

In the case of compounding, not every pharmacy provides this service. However, as indicated in Standard 7 of the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies, each pharmacy must ensure patients have access to compounding services. Please note Standard 7.2, which reads:

“If a licensed pharmacy does not have regulated members with the skills or the equipment to compound a prescription, the licensee must ensure that a regulated member working in the pharmacy refers a patient to another licensed pharmacy that has regulated members with additional expertise or equipment to compound it.”

And, in ACP’s Code of Ethics, Principle 5 indicates that pharmacy professionals must respect each patient’s access to healthcare. Principle 5(6) states: “Recognize my limitations and, when indicated, refer my patient to other health professionals whose expertise can address the patient’s need.”

In other words, if, for some reason, you are unable to provide care or services to a patient, it is your responsibility to facilitate access to care or services. When referring a patient to another pharmacy, it’s best practice to contact the pharmacy to inform them of the referral, to determine that they are able to provide the service requested, and to provide relevant healthcare information as required.