Layer 1

COVID-19: Self-isolating Boots pharmacists join NHS 111 triage service

Shielded and self-isolating Boots pharmacists have joined the NHS 111 triage service
Shielded and self-isolating Boots pharmacists have joined the NHS 111 triage service

Boots pharmacists who are shielding or self-isolating due to COVID-19 are providing pharmacy advice to patients through the NHS 111 triage service, the multiple has said.

The new service, which was developed with support from pharmacy regulators, began trials with 12 pharmacists last week and launched yesterday (21 April), Boots announced. 

Debbie Churcher, one of the first Boots pharmacists to take part, said: “As pharmacists, we see patients every day in the community who have questions about their medicines, a minor ailment or concerns about new medicines that they may have been prescribed.

“With many people currently isolating at home, patients don’t have the same access to community healthcare, so what we’re seeing is more calls to NHS 111.”


Training framework

NHS England giudance for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians returning to the profession to help during the pandemic also makes reference to the initiative.

The guidance states that there are opportunities for pharmacists to take up roles with the COVID-19 response service or NHS 111, but also that local out-of-hours providers, GP surgeries, and primary care networks all have non face-to-face roles that “urgently require support”.

Richard Bradley, pharmacy director at Boots, said: “The NHS is under enormous pressure, and particularly with more people isolating at home, services like NHS 111 become even more vital. Our pharmacists have taken up this opportunity, many of whom are shielded themselves.”

He added that the multiple’s training team has created a framework that is being shared with the sector so “colleagues across other businesses can also join this service in the future”.

A spokesperson for Well told C+D today (April 22) that the multiple does not currently have any pharmacists taking part.

This was the same for Lloydspharmacy, although a company spokesperson said “we would be interested in [taking part] and we’re contacting the NHS to find out more”.

A spokesperson for Rowlands Pharmacy told C+D that all “all healthcare professional staff at Rowlands are currently fully deployed in frontline roles”.

What do you make of this initiative?

Jenny Etches, Community pharmacist

A nurse friend works for 111 and says she can't wait for a pharmacy system as about 20-30% of calls could be better handled by pharmacists. And it's obvious from most of the CPCS referrals that people phone 111 with problems that are traditional pharmacy fare. But they're not regular pharmacy users so don't think to go there first - especially having to queue at the moment 
The Boots scheme involves pharmacists who are shielding or cannot be patient facing and are already being paid by Boots. So they might as well do something to support the system and use their skills. And there is always an element of PR about these things. You can see that in a lot of the non-pharmacy industries offering help. Not only being useful but people are already compiling lists of good guys and bad guys for after this all over. No one wants to be in the bad guy list like 'Spoons

V K P, Community pharmacist

again setting a precedence of non funded work. when will the pigs start flying?? never.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Always how it starts and not helped by cheerleading of C&D. 

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Another Boots promo. Wishful thinking this Boots love-in would change with the departure of previous editor.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Once again an attempt by Boots to fulfil its Remote Supervision goals.

I really fail to understand what a Pharmacist at 111 can advice that a Pharmacist in a Community cannot? Why would you call 111 and not your Pharmacy? Confused . ,

Pamela Black, Community pharmacist

Several reasons but one is you might not be able to get thru to ur regular pharmacy due to them being crushed and overworked

Job of the week

Pharmacist Manager
Midlands, Cheshire & Dorset
Salary dependent upon experience