Service launches as new research shows one in four people with advanced or terminal cancer are finding it harder to access healthcare
Boots has worked with the NHS to create a list of the most vital palliative and end-of-life medicines and is committing to maintaining stock of them at over 2,000 pharmacies
All Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists have been given additional training on how to support those in palliative and end-of-life care and their family members
“Discussing end-of-life care is never easy, but it is very important”, says Boots Chief Pharmacist
Boots has worked with Macmillan Cancer Support and the NHS to launch a Palliative Care Service in its pharmacies. The service is designed to provide ease of access to vital medicines and specialist pharmacist advice and support to patients and their carers at this exceptionally difficult time.
The new service launches as new figures from Macmillan show that almost one in four (23%) people with advanced or terminal cancer in the UK have found it harder to access healthcare in recent months because of COVID-19, and a similar number (25%) have been feeling stressed, anxious or depressed as a result of the pandemic.*
In partnership with Macmillan and the NHS, Boots has created a list of recommended medicines most used by terminally ill patients. As part of its new Palliative Care Service, Boots is committing to maintaining stock of medicines on this 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.
In addition, all 4,200 Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIP) have received additional training on palliative care to accompany the launch of this service. This training, developed with Macmillan, adds to the depth and range of cancer-related advice that BMIPs can offer, such as support with side effects of medication. It helps equip them to support patients with life-limiting illnesses other than cancer, too. Now that Boots can offer access to a BMIP in every pharmacy, this free specialist advice, support and signposting is more readily available than ever.
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots says: “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, said: “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 to further aid accessibility.**
Boots and Macmillan Cancer Support have worked together to train over 4,200 pharmacists as Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists. This training helps them to understand more about the impact of a cancer diagnosis, treatments and how to support people living with, and affected by cancer. Find out more about BMIPs at boots.com/macmillan.
*Macmillan Cancer Support/YouGov survey of 2,085 adults in the UK with a previous cancer diagnosis, including 125 people who are living with advanced, progressive or terminal cancer. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th November to 2nd December 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of UK people living with cancer (aged 18+). 23% of those with advanced, progressive or terminal cancer said that in the previous 8-10 weeks, i.e. since late August 2021, their access to healthcare and treatment for non-coronavirus (COVID-19) related issues had been negatively affected by the pandemic, and 25% said they had been feeling stressed, anxious or depressed because of COVID-19.
**Availability is an indication only and only one item can be searched for at a time. This tool does not reserve stock or guarantee it will still be in stock when a prescription is presented in the store.