Lethbridge Superstore offers a pharmacist-led walk-in health clinic

A Canadian retailer has partnered with the University of Alberta to offer the province’s first pharmacist-led health clinic as part of a pilot project in Lethbridge.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the new walk-in clinic, located inside the Real Canadian Superstore in Lethbridge.

“For patients who no longer have a family doctor or for those who are having difficulty accessing their family doctor in a timely manner, we will be there to help assess as well as provide medication and offer follow-up options for these patients. said Justin Jensen, Pharmacy Manager at Real Canadian Superstore.

The new clinic is expected to open on Monday, with a pharmacist expected to work at a time.

Jeff Leger, Loblaw’s chief pharmacy officer and president of Shoppers Drug Mart, said Alberta pharmacists are uniquely positioned to ease some of the burden on the province’s healthcare system.

“In Alberta, there’s a big range,” he said. “Pharmacists are able to do a number of things to help people with minor illnesses, pain or chronic conditions, so that’s what we do.

“We’re actually going to provide primary care through pharmacists. »

Jeff Leger, Loblaw’s chief pharmacy officer and president of Shoppers Drug Mart, said Alberta pharmacists are uniquely positioned to ease some of the burden on the province’s healthcare system.

PILOT PROJECT

Pharmacists across the province have the ability to assess patients and prescribe medications for minor illnesses and injuries, administer vaccines and other medications by injection, support chronic disease management, and order and to receive laboratory results.

The clinic is the start of a pilot project, with the possibility of opening more locations across the province.

“We will evaluate it over the next six to 12 months,” Leger said. “It’s a clinic in a space that we own, which makes it pretty easy to have a long pilot and kind of understand what works here and how can we replicate it in other parts of the province. .”

According to the Chinook Primary Care Network, more than 35,000 Lethbridge residents are currently without a family doctor. Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping believes the new clinic will help ease some of that burden.

“It’s one step in a multi-pronged approach,” Copping said. “It’s not just about family doctors, they’re incredibly important, but it’s about the whole health care team and pharmacists are part of that team and it will actually help with these issues that people don’t have access, the items we see on the wall, that they’re able to provide that service.

Copping said it’s a way for the province to increase access to primary care, which is a major challenge in the health care system.

“Access is an issue across Canada and like other challenges, it was an issue even before COVID, but of course the pandemic has made it much more difficult,” he said.

Loblaw provided a $500,000 grant to the University of Alberta to support research and teaching.

“Our researchers will use this funding to evaluate every element of it and we will also have students who will come to the clinic to be trained and provide patient care,” said Christine Hughes, acting dean of the U of A.

Hughes added that students at the university will also have the chance to practice with hands-on training at the clinic.

“We hope to have as many (students) as possible and as much capacity as the clinic has, but I expect six students to pass over the next year, but I hope it will be much more than that,” said Hughes. .

The walk-in clinic will open Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The clinic will also be accepting new patients starting next week.

With files from The Canadian Press

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