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Boots to pilot GP video service in pharmacy consultation rooms

Boots will trial an NHS service in one of its pharmacies that allows patients to have GP consultations via video, before launching a private version in another branch.

As of yesterday (September 5), patients are able to request to have a GP consultation by video in a Boots branch in the Peacock Centre in Woking, Surrey, as part of an NHS service rolled out to GP practices in North West Surrey in 2018.

Patients can use the branch’s consultation room and in-store tablet to video call one of Swedish firm LIVI’s GPs, and get access to “medical advice, diagnostics, referrals and prescriptions”, Boots said.

A pharmacist will support the patient on arrival and, when required, offer follow-on services and medicines advice after the consultation, it added.

Boots also plans to pilot a private version of the service in its London Liverpool Street branch from September 19, it said.

Details of the two services

The service will be available “on a walk-in basis” from either of the two Boots branches that are trialling it, the multiple said.

The service will be free for patients visiting the Woking branch of Boots, where LIVI has a partnership with the NHS.

However, patients using the private service in London will pay £25 per consultation – which Boots claimed is “lower than other private GP services currently available to patients in London” – plus any “additional cost for any necessary prescriptions or medication”.

“Offering a private service allows a large number of patients, including those who are commuting to and from work, to benefit from accessing this new and innovative service, at a time and place that is convenient to them,” the multiple said.

“As with any trial, we will review the results of the service, the customer responses and the operational feedback from both the NHS and private service, before considering further rollout.”

“Bringing together primary care”

Boots pointed to the five-year GP contract announced in January, which states that all patients should have access to “digital-first primary care, including web and video consultations by April 2021”. The partnership “brings together two key strands of primary care to improve patient outcomes”, it said.

Boots transformation director Paul Dunne added: “We know our patients and their carers want convenient, simple and accessible solutions to manage and take control of their health.

“Our collaboration helps to make this new, digital model of care a more mainstream part of the NHS and has huge potential to alleviate the growing pressure on our healthcare system.”

The GP video service pilot is part of Boots’ wider transformation plans announced earlier this year, which include a free online prescription service via the Boots app and website, “express” collection lanes in 600 of its branches and a secure prescription locker trial.

Would your pharmacy offer a GP video consultation?

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