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CQC inspects Boots as part of online safety investigations

Boots' online services were investigated by the CQC "a few weeks ago"
Boots' online services were investigated by the CQC "a few weeks ago"

Boots is one of 39 online healthcare providers being inspected by health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC), C+D has learned.

In March, the CQC announced a "programme of inspections" into "digital healthcare providers" in the UK, which it said would "prioritise those services it considers as potentially presenting a significant risk to patients".

Ten inspection reports have already been published – the latest being Pharmacy2U on June 29 – with all 39 inspections expected to be completed by autumn, the CQC confirmed to C+D last Friday (July 7).

See a list of the 39 registered providers being investigated by the CQC below.

Boots confirmed to C+D this morning (July 10) that its online services were inspected "a few weeks ago" and it expects to receive the report "in approximately six weeks".

According to the CQC's website, Boots' digital offerings include an online prescription service, and provision of patient group directions (PGDs) to pharmacies across the country. Boots' consultation and treatment services, as well as its remote clinical advice service – which all use doctors – have been subject to a previous CQC inspection in 2014.

Ruth Rankine, CQC deputy chief inspector of general practice, said she would “strongly urge” anyone who wants to use a service from these providers to read the CQC’s “detailed” inspection reports “to help them make an informed decision”.

“CQC works closely with the General Pharmaceutical Council; together with the General Medical Council and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the four regulators are committed to shar[ing] information when necessary,” she added.

The 39 digital healthcare providers being investigated by the CQC

Ada Digital Health

Antrobus Medical Limited 

Anytime Medical Limited

Babylon Healthcare Services Limited

Doctor Care Anywhere Limited

Dr Morton’s

Dr Now (Now Healthcare Group Limited)

Escripts Marketing Limited

Expert Health Limited

FMC Marketing Limited

Freedomhealth Ltd

Health Bridge Ltd London

Hexpress Healthcare Ltd

Homeocare Ltd

Icebreaker Medical

Index Medical Limited

iPrimary Care Limited

Medefer Limited

Medical Prescription Services Ltd

MSF Medical Services Limited

Online Clinic (UK) Limited

Postmymeds Limited

PrivateDoc Ltd

Push Doctor Limited 

Red Label Medical Limited

SH:24 C.I.C

The Boots Company plc

The GP Service (UK) Ltd

VideoDoc LTD

Yakub Chemist Limited

Doc Reports Limited (iGP) (read C+D's coverage of the inspection here)

Doctor Matt Ltd (read C+D's coverage of the inspection here)

e-med Private Medical Services

Express Dispense Ltd

Frosts Pharmacy Ltd (read C+D's coverage of the inspection here)

HR Healthcare Limited (read C+D's coverage of the inspection here)

Nationwide Pharmacies Ltd

Pharmacy2U Limited

White Pharmacy Ltd (read C+D's coverage of the inspection here)

* MD Direct – which traded through the website and was one of the first providers to be inspected, on December 13, 2016 – voluntarily cancelled its registration with the CQC, and so is no longer included on the list.

Does your pharmacy have an online dispensary service?

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

Boots needs to be investigated on quite a few things. I had worked for them for 33 years and know exactly what goes on with dispenser courses in particular dispenser top up courses to become a Registered Pharmacy Technician. Also with MUR targets.

paul lisbon, GP

Inspected not investigated.

CQC's report for reads that the provider had no Public, Professional or Employers Insurance???




Peter John Walker, Manager

James , I think the point being made by John Cleese is that your headline says investigates rather than inspects, which is a wee bit mischievous.


James Waldron, Editorial

An "investigation" simply means "a detailed inquiry or examination", and is wording we have used interchangeably with the word "inspection" throughout the article.

However, after consideration I have decided to switch the use of the words in the headline, to avoid any perceived implication that Boots is under a different form of investigation to any of the other 38 businesses on the list.

Thank you both for your feedback.


James Waldron, C+D editor

John Cleese, Production & Technical

"CQC investigates Boots as part of online safety inspections" - well of course it does: it regularly inspects all doctor services, online and offline. Interesting use of the word "investigates" in the headline, rather than "inspects", and the singling out of Boots; a little bit of click-baiting there.

James Waldron, Editorial

I'd have to disagree there. As C+D is a community pharmacy publication, and Boots is by far the most well-known community pharmacy-orientated business on that list, it makes sense to lead with the fact that they have recently been inspected by the CQC.


James Waldron, C+D editor

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