- Investment follows successful trial of a private prescribing service in 10 Boots stores in England*
- Boots also delivers NHS commissioned prescribing services in over 20 stores in Scotland and Wales
- Pharmacist prescribing can ease pressures on the NHS and reduce GP appointments
Boots is preparing for a future where there is a pharmacist independent prescriber in each of its stores by supporting the cost of the course and investing in training bursaries for 500 of its pharmacists. The value of the bursary is up to £7,000 per pharmacist, and it will enable time off work for those who need it to complete the training.
The news follows a successful trial launched last year of the Boots In-Store Private Prescribing Service, now in 10 stores in England with more to be added in the coming months. It also offers NHS commissioned prescribing services in 15 stores in Scotland and six in Wales.
Boots hopes its commitment to invest in bursaries for 500 of its pharmacists who want to complete training to become pharmacist independent prescribers will accelerate its capacity to offer prescribing services in more of its stores. Its pharmacists have been invited to apply for the bursary for courses starting in September.
As part of new university curricula for pharmacy degrees, all newly qualified pharmacists from 2026 will be able to prescribe, so this move by Boots will support current pharmacists to gain this skill via courses accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots, said: “At Boots, our ambition in the coming years is to have a pharmacist prescriber available at every store. Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals that, with the right training and support, will be fully equipped to prescribe certain medicines as well as dispense them. This will give patients greater and more convenient access to the medicines they need.
“Our investment in training for 500 pharmacists and our private service for England demonstrates our commitment to the future potential for prescribing in community pharmacies, which we believe will save time and money for GPs and other parts of the NHS.”
Under current GPhC guidelines and with an independent prescribing qualification, pharmacists can prescribe autonomously for any condition within their clinical competence.** Through the Boots In-Store Private Prescribing Service, patients can access prescriptions, if appropriate, for around 60 medicines to treat conditions such as cystitis, acne, eczema and dermatitis, and impetigo.
The Boots In-Store Private Prescribing Service costs £14.99 for the consultation and, if appropriate, for a private prescription to be issued. The patient will pay a further charge, which covers the cost of the medicine, if the medication detailed on the private prescription is dispensed.
Boots delivers the Pharmacy First Plus service in Scotland and the Pharmacy Independent Prescribing Service in Wales, on behalf of the NHS, in select stores. Under these schemes, pharmacist prescribing is free for patients, who are issued with an NHS prescription if appropriate.
Boots is the leading provider of healthcare on the high street with the biggest range of health and wellness products and an expanding range of services like the Boots Online Doctor, which provides access to advice and treatment without having to see a GP.***
Earlier this year, Boots introduced a Shingles Vaccination Service and has just opened bookings for its Winter Flu Jab Service, which is offered to patients for free or behalf of the NHS and privately for patients who are not eligible for a free NHS flu jab.
*The stores currently offering the Boots In-Store Private Prescribing Service are Barrow in Furness, Brighton North Street, Broadstairs, Durham Market Place, Fairford High Street, Gateshead, Hove George Street, London The Strand, Maidstone, and Wolverhampton Dudley Street.
** This currently excludes three controlled drugs for the treatment of addiction.
*** Access to prescription only medicine is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Charges apply.