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Boots exploring alternative options for patients using blister pack service

Boots is discussing “alternative ways to support” patients to whom it provides multi-compartment compliance aids (MCCAs), C+D has learned. 

However, in instances in which MCCAs “remain the most appropriate option for the patient”, Boots pharmacists will continue to provide them to patients, a Boots spokesperson told C+D today (May 20).

Pharmacy teams are currently “in the process of contacting patients” who are using MCCAs “to discuss alternative ways to support them, depending on their individual circumstances and needs”, the spokesperson added.

The multiple has begun exploring alternative ways of providing its patients with medication after “the latest Royal Pharmaceutical Society guidance indicates that the use of MCCAs is not always the most appropriate option for all patients”.


Change in name of “efficiency”


Boots wants to enable its pharmacy team members to “spend more time with patients, understanding and responding to their individual healthcare needs”, the spokesperson added.

To allow this, the multiple is seeking to “deliver services as efficiently as possible, while also reflecting the latest best practice guidance for community pharmacy”, the spokesperson said.

“We have introduced new ways to help patients manage ordering prescriptions and taking their medicines at the right dose and time, when such support is needed,” they added.


Pharmacists’ reactions to change


Liverpool-based community pharmacist Waqas Ahmad tweeted on May 17 that Boots pharmacies in his area were “telling all patients they will no longer be getting blister packs, even if they have done for years”.

He received a mix of responses to his tweet. Pharmacist Alice Robbins confessed she found MCCAs “massively labour intensive” and said the service often had to be “provided at a loss”.

“I’d love to do away with them. Either that or a properly funded service.”

Tony Schofield, owner and superintendent of Flagg Court Pharmacy in South Shields, speculated that Boots was “ditching [MCCAs] on cost grounds”.

Commenting on C+D’s tweet linking to Boots’ announcement, another Twitter user wrote that community pharmacy “can no longer absorb this loss-making exercise”.

Meanwhile Nilima Rahman-Lais, head of medicines and prescribing at the Birmingham and Solihull clinical commissioning group, wrote that she feared Boots would not provide MCCAs to patients who “have been assessed as needing them”, despite pledging to do so.

Another pharmacist suggested she had already offered her MCCA patients alternatives and “they have all been happy to not have a dossette [box] once explained the reason we are stopping them”.


“Patient-led” alternatives 


In response to a subsequent C+D request on May 23, a Boots spokesperson said its pharmacists will explore “a range of alternatives…with each patient and solutions will be patient-led”.

“Where MCCAs are the most appropriate for the patient, they will remain in place,” they reiterated.

Boots pharmacists might help patients “set reminders and alarms” for taking their medication as an alternative to MCCAs, the spokesperson suggested.

Pharmacists might also give “advice on how to incorporate medication-taking into [patients’] daily routine” and making use of medicines reminder charts and medicines administration record charts, they said.

Another solution could be to provide large print labels and patient illustration leaflets to patients that need it, the Boots spokesperson added.



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