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Loblaws-supermarket-storefront_1-1_2.png Loblaw Cos.

Loblaw to launch more health clinics after initial success

Four more pharmacist-led outlets will open in Alberta

Canadian supermarket operator Loblaw Companies Ltd. is following up on the success of its first pharmacist-led health clinic in Alberta by opening four additional clinics in the province in the coming weeks.

Clinics in Fort Saskatchewan, Brooks, Red Deer, and Edson will join the initial Lethbridge location in providing health services in traditionally underserviced areas. The Brooks location will open on December 9.

“Initial results from the Lethbridge clinic have far exceeded our expectations, with an average of more than 40 patient visits each day,” Jeff Leger, president of Loblaw’s Shoppers Drug Mart chain, said in a statement. “There is an obvious need for these services. That's why we're opening four additional locations in Alberta, a province that truly recognizes the important role pharmacists play in the public healthcare system.”

The Lethbridge clinic has been operating from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. since June inside the Loblaw-owned Real Canadian Superstore. Loblaw said that healthcare services has been an ongoing issue in the country and was most recently exacerbated by COVID-19, while the expanded scope of practice for pharmacies in Alberta is making it easier for patients to get access to services. 

Province pharmacists can assess patients and prescribe medications for minor illnesses and injuries; administer vaccines and other medications by injection; support chronic disease management; and order and receive lab results.

“The issues plaguing the Canadian healthcare system are complex and require innovation and collaboration,” Leger said. “We believe pharmacists can play a vital role in a collective solution. Optimizing the role of the pharmacist unlocks the potential of tens of thousands of highly trained healthcare professionals across the country.”

He added that by making certain services available from a pharmacist or in a pharmacist clinic setting, “we can help address some of the gaps that have emerged in primary healthcare systems, providing patients with more options and ultimately better outcomes.”

Loblaw said at the announcement of the Lethbridge launch that it was providing a $500,000 grant to the University of Alberta to support research and teaching at the clinic. 

That’s includes providing research and evaluation of innovative models of care implemented at the pharmacist walk-in clinic and offering training opportunities for pharmacy students to complete clinical placements in a unique, community-based clinic environment.

In addition, the retailer said that there will be opportunities for collaborative care with other healthcare providers to foster a complete approach to patient care and that the clinics are part of the company’s national network of healthcare professionals and infrastructure offering a range of in-store and virtual health services to millions of Canadians each week. 

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