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Boots pilots interpretation service as part of transformation plans

Boots pharmacy staff will be able to connect patients to translators live via the VOYCE app
Boots pharmacy staff will be able to connect patients to translators live via the VOYCE app

Boots is piloting an in-pharmacy interpretation service to “make healthcare more accessible” for non-English speaking patients.

Under the pilot, pharmacy staff can make use of the VOYCE app via iPads in five Boots pharmacies, connecting them and patients to interpreters on-demand, who can translate more than 245 languages, the multiple announced today (August 6).

The branches are located in:

  • Donegal Place, Belfast
  • High Street, Birmingham
  • Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London
  • Gallowtree Gate, Leicester
  • Above Bar Street, Southampton.

According to the last UK census, there are an estimated 726,000 people in England and Wales who cannot speak English easily, and 138,000 who cannot speak the language at all, the multiple pointed out.

Boots pharmacy director Richard Bradley said the service will “help our pharmacy teams make sure that our patients get the most from their medicines, without language as a barrier”.

The pilot is part of Boots’ wider pharmacy transformation plans, which includes a free online prescription service via the Boots app and website, “express” collection lanes in 600 branches and a prescription locker trial.

Do you have many non-English speaking patients at your pharmacy?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Ambulance services have been using translation services like this for years, so I think it's a good move for it to be available in Pharmacy.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

What a good use of public money I guess ‘sighs’

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

In my early days as a pharmacist, I worked in Limehouse, London, which had a large Chinese population and many of whom couldn't speak English. No unknown for me to phone the Chinese doctor and ask him to speak to the patient if he/she didn't understand my instructions.

Jenny Etches, Community pharmacist

I work for Boots and have used Language Line very successfully plus google has been quite enough most of the time. We have lots of Chinese students and they expect to use a phone based translator which are now very sophisticated 

Rajeshvari Patel, Community pharmacist

Well, what’s new??We’ve been getting by for ages using Google translate. Patients always go away fully informed !!

Richard Binns, Primary care pharmacist

always wondered how you would ask someone if they had an advantage card in Urdu or Spanish?

In all seriousness, NHS contractors use a service called LanguageLine, is this available to community pharmacists?

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

@Richard Binns. Google Translate is excellent.

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