Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the College shifted its focus to support the profession’s response to the pandemic in line with its legislated role and duty as a regulator committed to protecting the interests, health and wellbeing of the public. In providing support for the profession, OCP has worked collaboratively with health system partners, including regulators, pharmacy associations, government and others, to monitor and identify needs and issues and develop needed practice and policy-related resources and communication.
In particular the College has focused on:
- Developing, informing and updating practice guidance and policies to address questions from registrants and emerging issues in practice. External resources were regularly reviewed to identify those that would be of value to registrants.
- Addressing barriers to practice as identified through registrant communication to the College and engagement with stakeholders, such as difficulties in providing continuity of care for patients when prescribers were working remotely, by developing new guidance to registrants.
- Amending regulations once Health Canada issued temporary amendments to the CDSA regarding pharmacist ability to transfer, refill, renew and adapt controlled substances prescriptions to enable these changes to take effect in Ontario, once approved by government.
- Monitoring and responding to inquiries and emerging priorities related to COVID through regular stakeholder meetings and discussions with professional associations, other regulators and government to understand emerging issues and share resources and knowledge within a rapidly evolving public health crisis.
- Maximizing our communication channels by developing COVID hubs on the OCP website that allowed quick access to topics of interest to registrants and the public, and using e-Connect as the primary method of quickly sharing new information with pharmacy professionals.
COVID-19 remains a constantly evolving public health concern for everyone and the College continues to closely monitor the latest developments in the health system’s response to the pandemic. This includes anticipating challenges associated with a potential second wave of the pandemic later this fall when annual influenza season also becomes a reality. As it does, the College will apply learnings from the experiences with the pandemic to date and will continue to engage stakeholders as part of a collaborative approach to supporting the profession during the pandemic to provide care to their communities safely and effectively.
ADJUSTING COLLEGE OPERATIONS
In response to the public health concerns related to the emergence of COVID-19 in Ontario and as we concentrated our efforts on supporting pharmacy during the pandemic, the College has made a number of adjustments to its operations. This included shifting to virtual office operations, hosting virtual Board and Committee meetings, and, starting this summer, facilitating comprehensive remote video practice and pharmacy operational assessments, among other changes as the College maintains its regulatory responsibilities in consideration of current public health measures. Be sure to watch for updates in e-Connect and visit the website for additional updates regarding College activities and program adjustments.
For the latest updates from the College, please visit the COVID-19 webpage for Pharmacy Professionals.
AVAILABLE ON THE COLLEGE WEBSITE
Links to expert resources from public health, the government of Ontario and pharmacy associations.
Guidance on COVID-specific practice issues.
Information to support the health and safety of pharmacy professionals.
Resources for pharmacy operations to help maintain safe and quality care.