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Boots UK audit shows willingness to pay for a pre-travel health service in community pharmacy

30 June 2017
News Healthcare

With more and more people booking last minute holidays and a lack of awareness of lead times for travel vaccinations, there’s an increasing number of travellers seeking travel advice at short notice.  This has resulted in a growing demand in the UK for pharmacists working in the community sector to become involved in the provision of vaccination and travel health services. 

The World Tourist Organisation expects worldwide tourist arrivals to increase by 1.8 billion by 2030[1] and in 2016, there were 70.8 million visits abroad by UK residents2. Travellers are put at increased risk of preventable diseases causing considerable medical and economic burden. Pre-travel advice can help to identify  means of reducing the risks to health of travelling; however, approximately 50% of people travel without any travel health advice and therefore are at risk of infection[3].

An audit of data from the Boots Travel Vaccinations and Health Advice service clearly shows the benefits of providing an option for travellers to access their travel health advice and vaccinations in the community pharmacy. The service was available at a selection of pharmacies representing a variety of locations, socioeconomic groups and types of pharmacy.  With an NHS England consultation on the appropriateness of expenditures on prescribing medicines (including travel vaccines) expected imminently, the future provision of travel vaccinations through the NHS is unclear. The key observations from the audit show that:

  • A high proportion of travellers visiting community pharmacies chose to pay for vaccines which they could receive for free on the NHS.
  • 42% of travellers accessing the community pharmacy service were last minute travellers (14 days or less to departure).
  • Community pharmacies offer convenience to travellers with longer opening hours and as a one stop shop for associated travel products.

Community pharmacy may become even more important in the provision of travel health medicines particularly if the NHS does stop the funding for travel vaccines.

Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist t Boots UK comments; “Many of our customers value the convenience of community pharmacy as a one stop shop for their travel health advice, so much so that they are more willing to pay than have to wait for an appointment at their local GP surgery.

“Interestingly, the majority of travellers were between 18-49 years of age and almost a quarter of all appointments were made over the weekend and outside of traditional hours.”    





  1. World Tourism Organization, Tourism towards 2030. Global overview 2011.
  2. Office for National Statistics. Travel trends: 2016. 2016  May 2017]; Available from:
  3. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG), . Protecting the health of travellers from the UK and Ireland. 2014  May 2017]; Available from:



About Boots UK

Boots UK (, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.  With 2,509* stores in the UK, Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, be the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare and offer innovative 'only at Boots' exclusive products such as the UK’s leading skincare brand No7, all delivered with the great value customers love. Created over 165 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.

*As of 31 August 2016 excluding equity method investments



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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and around 1,900 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2024