Following an expansion of their scope of practice last month, the province has announced that people can now book an appointment to see a pharmacist through a new provincial online booking system. 

On June 1, 2023, B.C. pharmacists’ scope of practice was expanded to allow them to prescribe for 21 minor ailments and contraceptives. The province said as of June 27, 2023, more than 25,000 people have seen a pharmacist for an assessment. They expect this number to increase further with their new booking tool allowing patients to book an appointment with a pharmacist directly. 

“The high uptake not only demonstrates the value of the service of pharmacists to the public but also the continued dedication of pharmacists to their patients’ care,” said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix. “

“The online booking system will make it even easier for people to book an appointment with a pharmacy and is an important step toward improving access to health care, while continuing to build a stronger public health-care system for all of us.”

B.C. residents with a Personal Health Number (PHN) can visit a pharmacy in person, or call to schedule an appointment, to receive advice and treatment on 21 minor ailments such as allergies, shingles, cold sores, pink eye, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections. 

The province said through the new service, B.C. pharmacists can make an assessment of the patient’s presenting symptoms, check their medical history, and recommend an appropriate treatment, which may include self-care advice, over-the-counter medications, or prescription medications. The new online booking system is similar to the province’s Get Vaccinated system, where people booked appointments to get their COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations. Through the new online booking system, people can search for available appointment times at nearby pharmacies, although appointments can continue to be made by calling or visiting a pharmacy. 

“New hospitals and clinics will help meet people’s health-care needs over the long term, but we are also taking action today to make it easier for people to access the care they need now,” said Premier David Eby in a press release.

Eby’s Health Minister announced last October an expansion of pharmacists’ scope of practice, allowing them to adapt and renew prescriptions for a wider range of drugs and conditions, along with the ability to administer a wider range of drugs by injection or intranasally further to a prescription. 

To learn more about the new changes for pharmacists, and to see which minor ailments are covered, visit the BCPharmaCare site. To book an appointment with a pharmacist, visit www.gov.bc.ca/seeapharmacist.