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Boots launches asthma service to help patients take control

Practice The UK health and beauty giant has given extra training to all its pharmacists to enhance the advice they offer patients on controlling symptoms and using inhalers

Boots is aiming to empower more than three million asthma patients to take control of their health with the launch of a service that offers advice and support on how to better manage the condition.

The UK health and beauty giant has given additional CPD asthma training to its 6,800 pharmacists so they can advise patients on how to control their symptoms and use their inhalers correctly.

Under the asthma service, Boots pharmacists will tailor questions according to patients' individual needs

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Pharmacists are targeting patients when they present their inhaler prescriptions, as part of the service launched this month. They are not asking a series of set questions, but instead tailoring them according to patients' individual needs, a Boots spokesperson said.

Boots was hoping to target the three million adults across the UK who have asthma but do not have their condition under control, the spokesperson said.

A survey commissioned by Boots found 45 per cent of patients thought more support was needed for people with asthma. Only 26 per cent of the 500 asthma patients surveyed over a week in March had been encouraged to take up an activity such as sport, singing or playing a wind instrument when diagnosed, although 72 per cent of those felt their health or wellbeing had improved as a result.

Boots UK's director of pharmacy Peter Bainbridge said: "An easily accessible conversation with a trained Boots UK pharmacist can empower patients to take control of their asthma, helping to manage their symptoms and take their medication correctly."

He said the scheme would build on the national contract's NMS and MUR services and complement services offered by GPs and nurses.

"It will also enable pharmacists to make relevant clinical interventions and onward referrals, where appropriate," he added.

Boots will measure the impact of the new programme by recording the number of consultations pharmacists held in the company's stores.

Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association, told C+D the service could be helpful if it reinforces the messages provided by GPs and nurses in asthma clinics to ensure patients use their inhalers correctly.

Should community pharmacy follow Boots' lead and provide targeted health campaigns or should these be funded and co-ordinated by health and wellbeing boards?

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