Over the past few years, the College has conducted a number of engagement activities with registrants including Regional Meetings and open consultations and informally through direct communication and dialogue related to various key initiatives and programs designed to promote safe, quality pharmacy care. One of the common themes in the feedback the College has consistently received through these engagement activities is related to the community pharmacy practice environment.
Specific concerns that have been raised by registrants include workload and other pressures to meet operational expectations and the impact this has on professional autonomy and registrants’ ability to meet practice expectations. This feedback is now being expressed in nearly every consultation exercise.
Along with this feedback, medication safety data anonymously reported by pharmacy professionals through the College’s Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety (AIMS) Program is providing important insights into various causal factors that may be contributing to errors and near misses. In the first AIMS data snapshot published last September along with the inaugural expert bulletin, staffing, workload and environmental factors were the single most commonly noted contributors, comprising 23.6% of the 4,426 incidents reported by onboarded community pharmacies. The availability of this data and the ongoing feedback being expressed by registrants suggests that workload and staffing related challenges are top-of-mind for many community pharmacy professionals as a significant challenge that can have an impact on quality patient care.
Patients, too, have provided us feedback through our public engagement activities about their ability to access care in increasingly busy pharmacies and the need for adequate staffing as expanded scope of practice for Ontario pharmacists is being considered.