Board Chair Arden Barry, and Registrar Bob Nakagawa reflect on the state of pharmacy practice in BC.
We now have 1358 pharmacies, 6269 pharmacists and 1576 pharmacy technicians serving the public in BC.
2018/19 was a dynamic year for pharmacy practice in British Columbia. We introduced a number of new initiatives and made significant progress on many of our existing programs with the aim of continuing to ensure the public receives safe and ethical pharmacy care. We would like to acknowledge and thank the public and our health care partners for engaging with us in many different ways over the past year. From participation in surveys, to comments on proposed bylaw amendments, and engagement on social media, your perspectives have played an important role in our decision-making over the past year.
Throughout last year, the College was reminded of the powerful role that patients and the public at-large can play in driving positive change within BC’s health system. Melissa Sheldrick, a patient advocate who tragically lost her son due to a medication error, presented to the Board to request that we explore mandatory medication error reporting. Additionally, a myriad of community members and health care organizations joined us to continue to help combat the opioid crisis in BC. These are excellent reminders that empathy and communication are paramount to good regulation and effective public policy.
We are pleased to report that after a number of years of planning and hard work by College staff, new pharmacy ownership requirements were implemented in April 2018. These new standards permit the College to know the identity of all pharmacy owners, determine their suitability for pharmacy ownership, and hold them accountable for their pharmacies. This change provides critical transparency and represents an important shift in the way we are able to ensure the highest quality of care and protection for the public. We hope this will strengthen the valuable trust that the public has placed in pharmacy professionals and pharmacies in BC.
Lastly, since pledging our commitment to cultural safety and humility for BC’s First Nations in 2017, the College has been actively working to fulfill this pledge. Health care environments free of racism and discrimination are vital to the provision of fair and equitable care in BC. In the past year, the College has made significant strides to incorporate cultural humility knowledge and awareness into our processes by developing a College Board Cultural Safety and Humility resource, sharing insights with College team members, and empowering everyone to participate in campaigns and events such as #ItStartsWithMe, Orange Shirt Day, and the First Nations Health Authority’s 2018 Mental Health and Wellness Summit.
It has been a productive year for the College, and we have made considerable progress in our continuing efforts to advance and improve patient care. As the practice of pharmacy continues to evolve, we look forward to exploring ways to uphold our commitment to ensure all British Columbians receive safe, patient-centred care from their pharmacy professionals. On behalf of the College Board and staff, we invite you to read our annual report and learn about how the College is working to maintain a high standard of safe and ethical pharmacy care in BC.