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Government hiring 50 new pharmacists across B.C. 

Health Minister Adrian Dix during an announcement at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria in February. Photo by Government of B.C./Flickr
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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Ministry of Health says it will be hiring 50 new clinical pharmacists around the province as part of the new primary-care network teams.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that the positions are being added as part of government’s new primary health-care strategy to deliver team-based heathcare.

“Fully utilizing the expertise of health professions and creating these new clinical pharmacist positions is another crucial step in establishing patient-centred, team-based care that addresses under-met needs, and gaps in care for patients dealing with complex conditions,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

The team-based clinical pharmacists will focus on working directly with patients with complex conditions, to reduce and manage medication-related problems, such as drug interactions, adverse medication side effects, duplicate medications, and help eliminate unneeded medications. The ministry is supporting this new developmental program with $23 million over three years, and is working with UBC’s faculty of pharmaceutical sciences to manage the program.

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“Embedding a clinical pharmacist in a patient’s primary-care team reduces the risk of adverse drug reactions, which rises with the complexity of the condition, a patient’s frailty, age and the number of medications prescribed. According to recent figures, over 600,000 British Columbians have a chronic medical condition of medium or high complexity, and 20 percent of those over 70 take at least five or more medications a day.”

Through one-on-one patient care, the Ministry says that pharmacists will use their specialized knowledge to optimize their patients’ drug treatments through education and drug regimen adjustments with prescribers. These clinical pharmacists will also be able to promote safer and more appropriate prescribing by reviewing current evidence about different drug options with physicians and nurse practitioners in their team.

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At the heart of the Province’s new primary health-care strategy is a focus on team-based care that will see government fund these new pharmacist positions, in addition to recruiting 200 family doctors, and 200 nurse practitioners, to provide all British Columbians with faster and improved access to health care.

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