This online service, which is completely free, will offer a new, accessible route for those affected by cancer to speak to a trained healthcare professional from the comfort of their own home.
With tens of thousands of people starting treatment for cancer while the country has been on lockdown, and many others having their treatment paused or delayed, access to remote, trusted cancer healthcare advice has never been more important.
Boots, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, has over 2,000 trained Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIPs), offering specialist information and support on cancer, its treatment and possible side effects. This has been an important community role that Boots pharmacists have provided since 2012, and in just the last year, it is estimated that its pharmacists have had over 91,500 conversations to support people who are living with cancer, or caring for people living with cancer.
To offer continued support from the BMIPs during lockdown and beyond, Boots has worked with digital healthcare provider Livi, to make this service available digitally and free of charge so more people who are sheilding, or would prefer to stay at home, can still access this important service.
Jonathan, who accessed the BMIP service after going through cancer treatment, said: “After treatment, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone, I often didn’t want to disturb people, or I didn’t want to book or make appointments. The Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacist service is a great starting point – especially for those who, like me, might feel overwhelmed if they have been diagnosed. I think that this service is essential for people living with cancer. Speaking to someone who has Macmillan training reassured me. I’m glad that it’s now being made more accessible throughout COVID-19, when people may be feeling even more alone and isolated as they start or go through cancer treatment.”
Hafsa Dasu, a Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacist, who is one of the first to deliver this new digital service, said: “We know that many people are nervous about going out, and access to healthcare professionals is restricted at the moment, so being able to access a pharmacist and ask questions that they might have forgotten to ask their consultant, or accessing some additional support because they might be feeling lonely or scared is so important. I’ve been a BMIP for seven years now, and it is something that’s incredibly close to my heart after several people close to me have been affected by cancer. I feel very passionate about being able to help people and provide reassurance while they are often feeling at their most vulnerable.”
Dany Bell, Treatment, Medicines & Genomics Strategic Advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Before Coronavirus, many patients told us that being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment was the scariest thing that they could imagine. These anxieties and concerns haven’t gone away – they’ve been made worse by the pandemic.
“Now, many people are also contending with isolation from loved ones as they continue to shield, uncertainty around treatment and concerns about their increased risk of contracting the virus. It is vital that people with cancer can continue to access support safely as lockdown eases, which is why we are delighted that the BMIP service is available online, allowing people to get support and advice from trained professionals from the comfort of their own homes.”
The new service will be facilitated by Boots’ digital health partner, Livi, via its online platform. Juliet Bauer, UK MD of Livi, said: “The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the critical need for better access to high-quality digital healthcare. At Livi, we want to ensure everyone gets the expert medical care they need, at the touch of a button. Coronavirus has shown digital technology can play a vital role in helping maintain continuity of care for some of our most vulnerable or in-need.
“Our partnership with Boots means those affected by cancer can quickly and safely consult with trained healthcare professionals. This is particularly paramount at this time, when access to healthcare may have been disrupted due to the pandemic.”
Boots has been working with Livi to increase accessibility in the healthcare sector, and transform the way that people access healthcare, advice and medicines in the future. Alongside launching this free virtual BMIP service, it is exploring a range of services where Boots Pharmacists will be available for face-to-face advice on Livi’s online platform.
Boots has also worked with Livi to bring Livi’s GP service to more patients and customers, by offering Boots customers an exclusive promotion to access an online consultation with Livi for £29*. Customers can speak to a Livi GP from home, work or whilst on the go. Visit boots.com for more information.
Through partnerships with the NHS, Livi now offers services in five regions across England and enables patients to see a free NHS GP by video consultation on their smartphone or tablet device.
*Usual price £39
- You can access this service using your smartphone. If you would like to register your interest, please contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00
- Half a million people with cancer in the UK (19%) have barely left the house since the start of lockdown because they’re scared to do so1
- Covid-19 and the associated lockdown have left one in four people with cancer (28%) feeling stressed, anxious or depressed1
- The number of people in England being seen by a specialist for suspected cancer following an urgent referral by their GP dropped to just 79,573 in April 2020. This is almost 120,000 lower than it was the same time last year2
- Under normal circumstances this figure would be expected to have been around 210,000 in April 20203, which means the number of people being seen by a specialist for suspected cancer following an urgent GP referral is around 130,000 lower than expected for April 2020 – a drop of 62%.
- Previous research from Macmillan Cancer Support has shown that nearly two thirds of people (64%) recently diagnosed with cancer in England have experienced feelings of anxiety, fear or depression whilst waiting for their treatment to start4. With many having to wait throughout the lockdown period for a referral of for their treatment
- Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have been working in partnership for 11 years to improve access to cancer support and information on the high street. This includes over 2,000 Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists who are specially trained to offer advice on living with cancer
- There are over 1,100 Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors stationed in Boots stores around the UK. Specially trained by Macmillan, they offer free support with managing the visible side effects of cancer treatment. Since the partnership started, Boots UK employees and customers have also raised over £18 million to support Macmillan’s life-changing services.
For more information, please contact Bethan.Kirk@boots.co.uk
1 Macmillan Cancer Support/YouGov survey of 2,202 adults with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd — 15th June 2020
2Refers to the Two Week Wait From GP Urgent Referral to First Consultant Appointment cancer waiting times target. NHS England. Cancer Waiting Times – National Time Series Oct 2009 –April 2020 with Revisions . In April 2019 the figure was 199,217.
3 The number of people leaving the two-week wait pathway generally follows a seasonal trend and has been increasing year-on-year for several years. According to Macmillan Cancer Support, a reasonable estimate for April 2020 without the pandemic would have been a 10% increase from January 2020, which would be 210,000
4 Macmillan Cancer Support/YouGov survey of 1,020 adults in the UK with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th and 14th October 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the Living with cancer population. Results quoted are based on the 184 respondents in England diagnosed within the last two years.
About Boots UK
Boots UK (boots.com), the UK’s largest 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 2,465* stores in the UK, its purpose is to champion everyone’s right to feel good. 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 No7, a leading UK skincare brand, Soap and Glory and Liz Earle. Created 170 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.
*As of August 31, 2019 excluding equity method investments
About Macmillan Cancer Support
We know how challenging it is to live with cancer during this uncertain time, with so many people isolated and separated from the people they love.
That’s why we’re doing everything we can to give you the support you need right now – whether it’s how to take care of your physical or emotional wellbeing, or managing financial worries.
For information, support or just someone to talk to, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk.
Founded in Sweden in 2015 under the name ‘KRY’, Livi has a global vision for more equal and accessible healthcare. Through significant partnerships with the NHS, Livi enables patients to see a GP and other health professionals by video consultation on their smartphone or tablet device for free. Experienced, GMC-registered GPs can provide medical advice, prescriptions, fit notes and referrals to further NHS services. In the UK, the service currently reaches 3 million people and is available in Birmingham, Shropshire, Northamptonshire, Surrey and parts of the South-East. Find out more here.