Technical help may be of little value: pharmacy board
19-Oct-2006: The board that regulates pharmacists in Newfoundland and Labrador says a government plan to hire more technicians will not solve many workload problems.
In fact, the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board said adding technicians would create extra work for hospital-based pharmacists who last week launched a three-week job action to force government action on what the describe as excessive workloads.
Health Minister Tom Osborne said earlier this week that hiring additional technicians would alleviate some of the pressure on hospital pharmacies.
Pharmacy Board registrar Don Rowe said the process is not that simple.
"They must be under direct supervision of a pharmacist," Rowe said.
"It may help and assist in taking care of some of the technical functions, but it's an added task then that the pharmacist will have in terms of supervision and oversight of those technicians."
Rowe said he is concerned that an overworked pharmacist may make a mistake that can prove deadly.
The pharmacists, who are represented by the Association of Allied Health Professionals, began their campaign last week by limiting the amount of forced overtime they are prepared to work.
Effective Thursday, the pharmacists were stepping up their campaign by limiting to six the number of chemotherapy cocktails they will prepare per hour. Pharmacists have said they sometimes prepare more than twice that number, which they say is a safe limit.
Health board officials say they have made scheduling provisions to ensure that cancer patients continue to receive chemotherapy, although some may face delays during the day of their treatment.
Source: CBC - Newfoundland & Labrador