Boots launches pharmacy palliative care service
Boots has worked with Macmillan Cancer Support and the NHS to launch a palliative care service in its pharmacies.
The new service aims to make it easier for patients and their carers to access to vital medicines and specialist pharmacist advice.
The launch comes as new figures from Macmillan show that almost one in four people with advanced or terminal cancer in the UK have found it harder to access healthcare in recent months due to Covid-19 and that 25% have been feeling stressed, anxious or depressed as a result of the pandemic.
As part of the service, Boots has created a list of recommended medicines most used by terminally ill patients. In addition, it has committed to maintain a stock of these medicines on the list, or formulary, at over 2,000 of its pharmacies with an NHS contract. This is the first time a community pharmacy has worked with the NHS on a UK-wide level to develop a formulary of this kind.
The move has also involved all 4,200 Boots Macmillan information pharmacists receiving additional training on palliative care. Developed with Macmillan, the training adds to the depth and range of cancer-related advice that the pharmacists can offer, such as support with side effects of medication. It also helps equip them to support patients with life-limiting illnesses other than cancer.
Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots, said: “Discussing end-of-life care is never easy, but it is very important. At this extremely difficult time for patients and their families and carers, ease of access to medicines and support can make a big difference. We hope this new, national service, available at Boots stores across the UK, will provide valuable support to patients who need palliative and end of life care.”
Dr Rosie Loftus, chief medical officer at Macmillan, added: “We are proud to be working with Boots on this important new service, which will make an enormous difference for patients with cancer and other terminal illnesses, by improving access to vital medicines and support. Together we are doing whatever it takes to support people during this difficult time.”
As part of the Palliative Care Service, Boots has also introduced an online stock checking tool for patients and carers to check availability of medicines at their local Boots pharmacy.
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