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Boots unveils online prescription service, ‘express’ lanes and lockers

Customers will be able to collect prescriptions in under two minutes from express pick-up lanes
Customers will be able to collect prescriptions in under two minutes from express pick-up lanes

Boots has unveiled its free online prescription service, as well as “express” collection lanes and lockers.

The health and beauty giant’s free online NHS repeat prescription service – which has launched via the Boots app and website – will use the expertise of health technology company Wiggly-Amps, which Boots bought in January.

The multiple has also worked with NHS Digital and NHS England to develop the service, which from July will also allow customers across Great Britain to order their repeat prescription from their GP record and send to Boots for dispensing.

It follows the success of Well's online prescription ordering app, while the Co-operative Group returned to the pharmacy market last week by launching its own service.

In-store changes

As part of Boots’ attempt to “create a market-leading, omni-channel pharmacy experience”, the multiple will also introduce “express pick-up lanes” in around 600 branches from the end of the month, with a “promise that customers can pick up their prescriptions in two minutes or less”.

It is also trialling secure prescription lockers in two branches, which will offer “an alternative way to pick up your medicines”.

“Boots will be unrecognisable in 10 years”

Commenting on the announcement, Boots UK pharmacy director Richard Bradley predicted that “in 10 years’ time, pharmacy services at Boots will be almost unrecognisable”.

“Pharmacists will spend less time dispensing and more time offering clinical services,” he added.

“Through our investment in digitising pharmacy, our pharmacists will have more time to bring even greater value to the overall primary care system, offering greater choice and access to healthcare.”

During a conference call to discuss Boots’ financial results in December 2018 – which revealed a drop in pharmacy and retail sales – the multiple’s parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance said it “recognised the need to modernise our customer proposition”.

Skin-scanning service rollout 

Yesterday, Boots announced the rollout of a skin-scanning service across 50 branches.

The £65 ‘ScreenCancer’ consultation will take around 30 minutes and consist of a discussion and questionnaire with a pharmacist, followed by a scan of the area with a dermatoscopic imaging device.

A consultant dermatologist will then analyse the image and questionnaire responses, before sending a report direct to the customer within two working days.

This report can include a diagnosis, advice, suitable over-the-counter product recommendations and, if appropriate, a private prescription.

What do you think about Boots plans?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I am curious what this express pick up is. I can't read the writing there underneath the sign, something something only?

C A, Community pharmacist

"Text notifications only"


I think

Peter Smith, Student

They don't want to be seen to say "we are trying to get rid of pharmacists because we resent having to pay them", so they just lie and say that they are trying to free up pharmacists' time for "services", which nobody wants to pay for, and as soon as the time is right, they will just make them all redundant. How many people reading this have met an unqualified area manager who makes it very clear that he is jealous that pharmacists have authority to do things which he does not? Small-minded, petty morons.

Pharmacy in the UK is dead, nobody has the interests of either patients or pharmacists at heart, it's all about the money, right from your area manager all the way up to parliament (and haven't they made themselves look like a complete bunch of idiotic morons over the last three years?). Once the first multiple is allowed to operate a pharmacy without a pharmacist by way of having the dispensing done at a different location, the floodgates will open and patients will no longer be able to speak to a pharmacist in the branch, but they will almost certainly be told to call a hotline at their expense.

Find something else to do, and fast.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

Get down to the Natural History Museum. There will be another species 'Pharmaceuticus Unemplodicus' on display.

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Absolutely bang on!

Peter Smith, Student

All this talk about freeing up pharmacists' time to provide other services is pure bluster. They are working towards pharmacist-free pharmacies, mark my words, the only things the pharmacists will be doing is signing on at the job centre if Boots get their way. Do NOT trust anything that Richard Bradley says!

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

It was all LIES. Applied when first mooted and still applies today. Anybody with an ounce of sense knows this. Only a few publications like this one provide a platform for such nonsense to be spouted.

Peter Smith, Student

Anyone reading this should go to YouTube and watch the 29 minute film called "pharmacists under pressure". Richard Bradley *** denies everything point-blank, despite the evidence from pharmacist witnesses, who quite sensibly gave their evidence anonymously. 

And then an internal whistle-blower provides the GPhC with reams of evidence about Boots' staffing practices, and surprise, surprise, they do nothing. Why do you think that could be? The GPhC will act against an indivdual pharmacist on the word of a disgruntled customer, but mounds of documentary evidence against Boots is ignored!

*This comment has been amended to comply with C+D's community principles*

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Bradley reminds me of the old Iraqi Information minister who claimed everything was fine as the West dropped bombs all around him.

Imagine whistle blowing without anonymity. You may as well go to Waterloo and jump in frontof a train. 

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director



No competition for me

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Very true, a good independent can see a multiple off everytime


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