New palliative care service from Boots aims to maintain stocks of vital end-of-life medicines

High street chain Boots has committed to maintaining stocks of vital end-of-life medicines at more than of its 2,000 pharmacies as part of a new service to support terminally-ill patients.

Boots said it has worked with Macmillan Cancer Support and the NHS to launch a palliative care service, which aims to provide ease of access to medicines as well as specialist advice and support for patients and their carers.

In partnership with the charity and the health service, the company has drawn up a list of recommended medicines most used by terminally-ill patients and is committing to maintaining stocks of these at more than 2,000 pharmacies.

Boots said it is the first time a community pharmacy has worked with the NHS on a UK-wide level to develop a list of this kind.

It is also introducing an online stock checking tool for patients and carers to check the availability of medicines at their local Boots pharmacy.

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.”

The new services 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.

All 4,200 Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIP) have also received additional training, developed with Macmillan, on palliative care, such as support with side-effects of medication.

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.”

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