Self-isolating pharmacists taking NHS 111 calls from home
A number of Boots pharmacists who are self-isolating have begun taking calls from patients via NHS 111 to help reduce pressure on the health service.
Boots UK announced yesterday that following a trial last week involving 12 pharmacists, it was launching a new service whereby pharmacists isolating at home due to Covid-19 infection concerns can choose to offer advice and support to patients via the NHS 111 telephone service.
The company said this would â€œprovide capacity to support thousands more patients every weekâ€.
Boots pharmacist Debbie Churcher, who has been taking calls on the NHS 111 triage system, said: â€œAs pharmacists, we see patients every day in the community who have questions about their medicines, a minor ailment or concerns about new medicines that they may have been prescribed.
â€œWith the many people currently isolating at home, patients donâ€™t have the same access to community healthcare, so what weâ€™re seeing is more calls to NHS 111.â€
Boots said that as calls are managed through the triage system health workers can work remotely, allowing pharmacists who are shielding or self-isolating to lend their support should they wish.
The company said it had developed a training framework for pharmacists delivering the service and had received support from pharmacy regulators.
Boots UK pharmacy director Richard Bradley said: â€œThe NHS is under an enormous pressure, and particularly with more people isolating at home, services like NHS 111 become even more vital.
â€œOur pharmacists have taken up this opportunity, many of whom are shielded themselves. Our incredible pharmacy training team has also created a framework that we are sharing among the pharmacy industry so our colleagues across other businesses can also join this service in the future.â€Â