Boots UK has today (Wednesday September 5) started trialling an in-store video service giving patients access to GP consultations.
The LIVI video service, which is being piloted in a branch of Boots in north west Surrey, will see patients receive medical advice, referrals, prescriptions and information on diagnostics in a consultation room via a tablet computer. The Surrey trial will be an NHS service, while a second pilot launching in London Liverpool Street on September 19 will be a private service.
Boots said the video initiative was part of its wider vision of an “omni-channel pharmacy experience” for patients. In recent months the company has introduced an online repeat prescription service, a cystitis test and treat scheme and translation technology allowing patients who cannot speak English to access its services.
The company said schemes such as this would help deliver the NHS Long Term Plan pledge of making online and video GP consultations available to all patients in England by 2021, as well as helping those without smartphones to "benefit from the convenience of using technology to see a GP".
Boots said: “All LIVI GPs are GMC-registered, UK-qualified, and specially trained in ‘web-side manner’ to offer the best medical advice. A Boots pharmacist will support the patient on arrival and offer follow-on services and counselling on medication after the appointment when required, bringing together two key strands of primary care to improve patient outcomes.”
Paul Dunne, transformation director at Boots UK, said: “Technology is changing the face of pharmacy and in this digital age. We know our patients, and their carers, want convenient, simple and accessible solutions to manage and take control of their health."
Mr Dunne claimed the initiative would help make digital consultations "a more mainstream part of the NHS" and had potential to relieve strain on the wider healthcare system.