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Pharmacy teams: thank you for your resilience

January 12, 2022
A message from ACP Council president Peter Macek.

Pharmacy teams continue to provide extraordinary support during the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic, including provision of vaccines (COVID, influenza and others), supporting asymptomatic COVID testing, distribution of rapid antigen tests, managing drug shortages, ensuring Albertans continue receiving their drug therapy in a timely, appropriate manner, and providing support to patients affected by opioid use disorder. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Pharmacy teams have shown their resilience and ability to adjust to programs that change frequently, challenging distribution and information systems, and seemingly endless supply-chain issues. Staffing pressures have become universal as the pandemic has roared along, but teams continue to find a way to get all the important work we do completed in all environments: community practice, long-term care, hospitals, PCNs, correctional centres, clinics, outreach programs, and countless others.

During our meetings in December, every member of Council reflected on the efforts and sacrifices pharmacists and pharmacy technicians routinely make to ensure the health of our patients and our communities is prioritized.

Every decision we make as Council considers the health and safety of Albertans, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacists. An excellent example of this was our deliberation about time-delayed safes. Council reviewed evidence of these safes in other jurisdictions, consulted with police agencies, and thoughtfully considered the feedback received from over 70 individuals and groups. Council acknowledged the financial cost associated with our decision to approve the amended standards of practice. We strongly felt that the harms of armed robbery—physical and emotional trauma for the victims (staff and patients) and diversion of narcotics—far outweighs the cost of implementing this important security measure province-wide.

Other Council work focused on moving our strategic plan forward. I am confident that achieving the goals of our strategic plan will further cement Alberta as a world leader in pharmacy practice!

I cherish the interactions I have had with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians through various means including ACP Connect sessions in the fall, phone calls, emails, and in-person pharmacy visits. Public members of Council joined us on some of these visits and I was very proud of the impressions those pharmacy teams had on all members of Council.

I crave for the world to come back to normal and look forward to seeing more of you face to face. I am optimistic that in a short time, I will be able to meet more of you in your practices to hear your success stories in these extraordinary times.

It has been an honour and privilege to lead Council this term. I am truly grateful to the role each of you plays in achieving our vision of “Healthy Albertans through excellence in pharmacy practice.” I am sincerely proud of the great work all of you do to support the health of Albertans and of the huge outpouring of support for the work pharmacy is doing to support health care during the pandemic.