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Boots unveils plans to pilot private diabetes screening service

Boots has announced that it will pilot a new private service for diabetes screening from May.

The service, which will first launch in areas with a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, will cost £19.99, the multiple told C+D yesterday (March 14).

Speaking at the Digital Health Rewired conference in London yesterday, Boots managing director Sebastian James revealed the plans for the “new private pilot service for diabetes screening”.

Read more: Stress levels and pay rises in 2022 at Boots, Lloydspharmacy and Well

The pilot will launch in May in seven stores across Manchester, London and Birmingham – cities with a “higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes” – Boots said.

But it added that the service “could roll out to more stores in the next year if there is demand from patients”.

 

Finger-prick blood test

 

The diabetes screening service will be “powered by LumiraDx’s HbA1c diagnostic test” and appointments will be available for online booking, Boots said.

During the screening appointment, patients will first be asked “a few questions” to check that the service is suitable for them, it added.

Read more: Candy crush? Diabetes has become the illness of our age

If suitable for the patient, the test involves a “simple finger prick where a drop of blood is taken and analysed” using the diagnostic test, which provides a result “within seven minutes”, the multiple said. 

Patients will be “advised to discuss their result with their GP” if it “indicates potential type 2 diabetes”, it added.

 

Boots “welcomes conversations” with NHS commissioners

 

Mr James said that Boots “could deliver these tests on behalf of the NHS and welcomes conversations with national and local service commissioners”.

He added that he believes diabetes “could be a particularly suitable area to benefit from greater data sharing between community pharmacy and the NHS”.

Read more: HSCC blasts ‘inadequate’ government progress on pharmacy records access

“There are currently around 850,000 people living with undiagnosed diabetes and we want to help address that,” he said.

He added that there “could be an expanded role for diabetes management in community pharmacy” more widely, as well as “having community pharmacies like Boots perform screening tests”.

Read more: Online pharmacies: Coroner flags ‘lack of integrated records’ after patient ‘overdose’

“Our pharmacy team members could support with checks when patients collect their medicines and feed this information back to their GP via their patient record,” he said. “That could be really powerful.”

Community pharmacies in England do not currently have full read and write access to NHS patient health records – despite Professional Record Standards Body advice that they should.

 

Advantage Card health scheme to expand

 

Meanwhile, Boots also announced the expansion of a scheme to recruit Advantage Card members for health research following a “successful pilot”.

Its partnership with the UK’s largest health research programme, Our Future Health, will be extended, it said.

“Since last year, Boots has helped to raise awareness among its Advantage Card membership to attract volunteers to take part in the initiative,” it added.

 

Read more: Boots trainee pharmacist pay rising to £10.90 from April, PDA confirms

 

During the “successful pilot” across 10 stores, the multiple has “helped to facilitate the recruitment of over 10,000 volunteers since last summer”, it said.

 

Boots announced that the partnership is now being “extended to a further 10 stores this month with up to 70 stores being onboarded by the end of the year”.

 

Earlier this year, an Imperial College London study found that loyalty card data could be an early predictor of ovarian cancer. It tracked consenting Boots Advantage Card holders' spending to investigate a link between diagnosis and a pattern of buying over-the-counter pain and indigestion medications.

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