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Primary care improvement case study: Victory Square Pharmacy: Improving access to health care among opioid substitution treatment clients

16th November, 2021

Victory Square Pharmacy is in a residential area that is one of the more socioeconomically deprived areas of Nelson. Although the pharmacy is relatively small, it services a high-needs population with multiple co-morbidities. 

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) patients are an ageing population who often have high needs, can be medically complex and may have had negative experiences in the past with health care professionals. Additionally, financial hardship, health literacy and stigma can create barriers to addressing their physical (and often psychological) health issues.

As a community pharmacy that has often daily contact with these patients, Victory Square Pharmacy set out to address these inequities through its Whakakotahi quality improvement project. Its approach was to facilitate engagement with other health providers and empower people on OST to take charge of their physical health and improve their quality of life.