Pharmacists shortage reaches 24% in Outaouais Hospitals
’’90 is really not a lot of graduating students considering the number of positions available,’’ says François Paradis, president of A.P.E.S
Article published on 12 February 2022
last modification on 10 February 2022
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The Outaouais region is among the regions most affects by staff shortages in Hospital pharmacies and other health establishments. The Association des pharmaciens des établissements de santé du Québec (A.P.E.S.) reports that the rate of missing Pharamacists across the outaouais is at 24%. The A.P.E.S. president François Paradis says the organizations reseach shows that the issue has not improved in over a year.

’’To fully understand the impact we’re seeing you have to understand the two major roles that pharmists play in our health system. On the one hand, pharmacists make sure that the patients get their medication, the right medication and in the right quantity, whether it be in a CHSLD or a hospital,’’ Paradis says. ’’On the other hand, there are the phamacists who play a vital role we call phamaceutical care. Meaning, the pharmacists who work outside of pharmacies: in the emergency, intensive care, with nurses, providing care and take care of patients pharmaceutical needs.’’

Inadequate pharmaceutical care in health facilities is a concern, as it has several relative consequences. Such as :

o the increased risk of incidents and medication accidents;

o the lengthening of the average duration of hospitalizations;

o risks of adverse effects and interactions;

o returns to the emergency room and rehospitalizations (revolving door syndrome);

o a decrease in the quality of life of patients;

o additional costs for the health system.

In the Outaouais, 12 hospital pharmacists positions are sill unfilled as of April 01, 2021. The number of days where temporary replacements have been needed amounted to 372 days, according to the A.P.E.S. This reality has affects other regions in Quebec at 18%, or nearly one out of five institutional pharmacist positions remain unfilled. As of April 1, 2021, the A.P.E.S survey reported 280 unfilled positions in Quebec and 6,238 fill in days. The replacement days have therefore increased by 735 days as compared to April 1, 2020. The A.P.E.S. is looking into new solutions to ongoing issue.

’’There are a few things that can still be put in place fairly quickly. If we talk about the expertise it take. Basically you need a 4-year university course, which is the basis to becoming a pharmacist, and to work as a insitutianal pharmacist, where you would mainly be working with drugs against cancer for example, or drugs that are used in intensive care, you have to do 1 year and a half; a master’s degree,’’ Paradis says. ’’Currently, in Quebec, about 90 and 100 masters students graduate each year. It’s really not a lot considering the number of positions available. [...] It is necessary to increase the number of places with the control.
So we need to work together with the government and faculties to increase the number of students who graduate with a master’s degree. That’s one thing. The other thing is to a better job promoting the profession.’’

The full interview in French with the president of A.P.E.S. François Paradis, is available here.

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