With an increasing number of travellers seeking health advice at short notice before their trip, there is rising demand for community pharmacists to provide vaccination and travel health services – especially as around half of people travel without any advice at all, putting themselves at risk of illness, according to Boots UK.

With NHS England currently considering the appropriateness of prescribing travel vaccines (among other medicines), their future provision through the NHS is unclear. Community pharmacy may become even more important in the provision of travel health medicines, particularly if the NHS does stop the funding for travel vaccines, the retailer says.

An audit of data from Boots’ travel vaccinations and health advice service shows that:

  • A high proportion of travellers visiting community pharmacies chose to pay for vaccines that they could receive free on the NHS
  • 42 per cent of people accessing the service were “last minute travellers” (14 days or fewer to departure)
  • Community pharmacies offer convenience to travellers with longer opening hours and acting as a one-stop-shop for associated travel products.

Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots UK, comments: “Many of our customers value the convenience of community pharmacy as a one-stop-shop for their travel health advice, so much so that they are more willing to pay than have to wait for an appointment at their local GP surgery.

“Interestingly, the majority of travellers were between 18-49 years of age and almost a quarter of all appointments were made over the weekend and outside of traditional hours.”   

 

 

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