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Boots launches UK-wide palliative care service in more than 2,000 pharmacies

Boots has partnered with the NHS and Macmillan cancer support to deliver a community pharmacy palliative care service across the UK, to ease access to “vital medicines” and advice for terminally ill patients. 

In addition to launching the service, which is funded by the multiple, in more than 2,000 pharmacies across the UK today (January 18), Boots collaborated with Macmillan and the NHS to produce “a list of recommended medicines most used by terminally ill patients” (see below), the multiple wrote in its announcement.

Boots has committed to “maintaining stock of medicines on this list” in its pharmacies with an NHS contract.

In a document published on January 10, Boots UK indicated that its number of pharmacy contracts now stands at 2,150.


Additional training for pharmacists


All 4,200 of Boots’ Macmillan information pharmacists received additional training in palliative care in preparation for the service, helping them to “understand more about the impact of a cancer diagnosis, treatments and how to support people living with, and affected by, cancer”, the multiple said.

The training has added to “the depth and range of cancer-related advice” pharmacists can offer, while also equipping them to support patients through illnesses other than cancer.

Trained pharmacists will be able to advise patients – who do not need to book an appointment prior to visiting the Boots pharmacy – on matters such as side effects from medication.

Boots Macmillan information pharmacists are available in every Boots pharmacy, the multiple wrote. In their temporary absence when a patient visits the pharmacy, other team members will be able to help patients access a Macmillan pharmacist at another branch or remotely.

Patients can also check if their medicine is available at their local pharmacy via “an online stock checking tool”, the multiple added.

The following medicines are included on the list of recommended drugs most commonly used by terminally ill patients compiled by Boots:




Cyclizine solution for injection

50 mg/ml

5 ampoules

Cyclizine tablets



Dexamethasone injection


10 ampoules

Dexamethasone tablets



Haloperidol tablets



Haloperidol solution for injection


10 ampoules

Hyoscine Butylbromide injection


10 ampoules

Levomepromazine injection


10 ampoules

Metoclopramide solution for injection


10 ampoules

Midazolam solution for injection


10 ampoules

Morphine sulfate solution


3 x 100ml

Morphine sulfate solution for injection


10 ampoules

Morphine sulfate solution for injection


10 ampoules

Oxycodone solution for injection


10 ampoules

Oxycodone oral solution sugar free



Sodium Chloride 0.9% solution for injection


10 ampoules

Water for injection

10 ml

10 ampoules


Service could "make a big difference"


Boots chief pharmacist Marc Donovan said: “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.”

NHS England and NHS Improvement also plans to start a palliative and end of life care community pharmacy pilot this year, outgoing director for primary care strategy and NHS contracts Ed Waller said at the Pharmacy Show last year.

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