The high-street chemist chain Boots is considering offering a range of complex treatments in-store which will help ease the cancer burden on the NHS.
The Chief pharmacist of Boots has indicated that the chain is indeed ready to offer more profound health treatments, and this could help reduce the scope of organisational problems that the NHS faces.
Post-diagnosis treatments for skin cancer and diabetes could soon be offered at local branches, if indeed the Boots scheme goes ahead as planned.
The chief pharmacist of Boots, Mark Donovan, believes that the services it is proposing to offer will be extremely valuable to the public and NHS alike.
“The NHS needs us to change to meet some of the challenges it is facing”, Donovan asserted, and the chemist also indicated that several treatments could be undertaken by community pharmacists as a possible alternative.
However, despite the practical benefits of Boots becoming involved in more advanced treatments, not all observers are convinced by the validity of the scheme.
Patient advocacy groups suggest that the proposals need to be assessed carefully, as there is a massive profit incentive for a huge private company such as Boots.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, believes that the plan could have positive benefits, but is also concerned about the motivation for Boots to be involved in the first place.
“I agree that pharmacists are an under-utilised resource but we’ve got to be careful and scrutinise private providers creeping into the NHS. When they see an opportunity, is the opportunity for the patient or for their own gain?”
Boots strongly opposes the views of Murphy and instead indicates that the NHS simply requires help in order to tackle some of the challenges it is confronted with currently.
The aforementioned Donovan outlined his view that the partnership between Boots and the NHS will simply help organisational problems in the health service be addressed.
“The NHS needs us to change to meet some of the challenges it is facing. The treatment of minor ailments and the management of long-term conditions, once they had been diagnosed, could be done effectively by community pharmacists, and the NHS needs this assistance”.
Yet the timing of this announcement will be considered strange by many.
Boots has already been criticised for apparently profiting from the prescription scheme that it already runs for the NHS, and this will obviously heighten concerns that the High Street chemist chain will indeed profit inappropriately from this new arrangement.
The investigation into the potential of £30 million profit that Boots may have made from prescriptions is ongoing.