Boots launches NHS-backed treatment service across England

Health and beauty retailer Boots has announced the launch of its new NHS Pharmacy First Service in England.

The new service will allow customers to access treatment and advice for seven common conditions from Boots pharmacies, without the need for a prescription from a GP.

Patients will now be able to be treated by pharmacists at boots for sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bites, impetigo, shingles, or an uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women.

According to the NHS, the move will help save 10 million GP appointments by next year.

The move follows similar initiatives by Boots in Scotland and Wales.

Boots currently has over 2,100 stores across the UK, where over 4,300 pharmacists are supported by over 12,900 pharmacy technicians, dispensers, advisors and healthcare sales assistants.

“The service makes it quicker and easier for patients to access the advice, care and treatment they need, allows our pharmacy team members to further utilise their professional skills and reduces pressures on GP surgeries,” said Seb James, managing director, Boots UK and ROI. “It is one of the most significant changes in how we can serve our customers and patients in our 175-year history.”

No appointment will be needed for treatment, with most stores offering a private consultation room in the pharmacy area for confidential discussions about patients' health concerns.

Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP and resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning, said: “Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals who are experts in medicines and well-equipped to help patients treat a whole range of minor ailments. Pharmacy First is a hugely positive development that will give patients quicker access to advice and treatment, which will free up GP time to allow us to help patients with different healthcare needs. It is a more effective way of delivering primary care to ensure expertise is used in the right places.”

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