Even with the welcome addition of a new family doctor at the Rimbey Medical Clinic, many local residents are still struggling to access timely primary healthcare.
If you’re lucky enough to have a family doctor, you may not be able to get in for an appointment quickly. And for those who are still searching for a primary care physician, long waits at walk-in clinics and emergency room visits are an unsatisfactory long-term solution, especially when you can only get a three month refill.
“I know some residents have been driving to Red Deer or Edmonton, but that’s not practical or sustainable — especially with winter setting in,” says William Poggemiller, pharmacist and managing partner of Rimbey Guardian Drug Mart.
Pharmacists in Alberta can’t replace your family doctor, but they are a valuable part of your healthcare team — and can offer many services that help individual patients and alleviate stress on the overburdened healthcare system.
“Rimbey Guardian Drug Mart has two prescribing pharmacists, which means we have the training and certification to prescribe refills for many long-term medications,” Poggemiller says.
Prescription refills, ordering lab work
For patients who do not have a family doctor, medications for stable, chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and thyroid issues can all be refilled by a prescribing pharmacist. Some controlled medications, including opioids and some sleep medications, have limitations, but Poggemiller says it never hurts to ask at the pharmacy.
“We’re happy to help if we can, and patients will never be charged for the assessment. We can also order lab work and interpret the results — it’s part of our pharmacy education. If a patient needs their thyroid level checked or blood sugar control assessed, we can order the lab work and get that information.”
If the pharmacists at Rimbey Guardian Drug Mart have concerns, or discover something that needs further investigation, they will always refer patients to the walk-in clinic or hospital for further care, more testing or a physical exam. That means it’s always a good idea to check at the pharmacy — either they can help right away, or they can refer you to someone who can.
Rimbey Guardian Drug Mart has been serving the community for over 100 years! Find the dedicated staff at 4917-50 Ave., open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Free delivery is available to many surrounding communities on a weekly basis.