The aim of the centres will be to “provide an alternative for patients who may not like the idea of...traveling to hospital every week for treatment, but also want to keep their home life separate from their health issues”, Jill Pritchard, head of speciality pharmacy at parent company Celesio UK, said yesterday (November 4).
Examples of services on offer
Ms Pritchard listed specialised medicine collection, subcutaneous injections, infusion clinics, and testing and screening as examples of some of the services these centres could offer – although the offering for each premises would depend on local needs.
Depending on the individual service, it will either be delivered by nurses from Lloydspharmacy’s Clinical Homecare business – which operated under the Bupa Home Healthcare brand until it was acquired by Celesio UK last year – or by pharmacists themselves.
Lloydspharmacy listed vaccinations and “oncology medicines use reviews” as potential services pharmacists could deliver in these centres.
One of the first services to go live in the centres will be Herceptin injections for the treatment of cancer, which will be delivered by a trained oncology nurse. Patients accessing this service will also have access to medicines management guidance from the pharmacy team, Lloydspharmacy said.
Only branches with two consultation rooms will be considered for delivering subcutaneous injection services, Ms Pritchard added, so as not to “detract” from the services offered to these pharmacies’ existing primary care patients.
Celesio UK speciality director Ruth Poole pointed out that Lloydspharmacy currently has 70 premises that meet this criteria, although “many more” have space to add a second room.
The multiple expects NHS trusts to be one of the “core” sources of funding for its healthcare centres, but it is also prepared for clinical commissioning groups and manufacturers of specialist medicines – such as injectables and cold chain products – to be involved in funding, Ms Poole added.
Three pharmacies selected
Ms Poole told C+D the multiple “doesn’t know“ how many of its approximately 1,500 branches it will rebrand as healthcare centres, as the model will “not be suitable” everywhere.
“Most of the services will be delivered within the Lloydspharmacy store using additional consultation rooms, but for infusion clinics and more complex treatments, a new space will be constructed to accommodate the service,“ the multiple said.
Some of the pharmacies selected will be fully rebranded as Lloydspharmacy healthcare centres, while others will have signage inside to alert patients that they have been “enhanced”, Ms Pritchard explained.
The company has already picked three of its pharmacies to adopt the healthcare centre model: one in north-east England; another in the Midlands; and a third in Manchester, which will offer early cancer detection screening.
Lloydspharmacy will be recruiting patients for these centres “over the next four weeks”, and announcing the locations of the sites – and the NHS trusts funding them – at some point during this period, Ms Pritchard confirmed to C+D.
While Ms Pritchard said it is Lloydspharmacy’s “preference” to locate the health centres within existing branches, it also prepared to build dedicated premises if needed.
Ms Poole said there are “early plans” to build a bespoke centre in the Midlands.