Europe’s leading digital healthcare provider, Livi, has announced a major new partnership with UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, Boots, and Macmillan Cancer Support, to offer free specialist information and support on cancer, its treatment and possible side-effects.
The new service will be facilitated by Boot's digital health partner, Livi, via its online platform.
WHY IT MATTERS
With tens of thousands of people starting treatment for cancer during the coronavirus lockdown, and many others having their treatment paused or delayed, access to remote, cancer healthcare advice has become increasingly important.
Boots, in partnership with Macmillan, has over 2,000 trained Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIPs). This partnership has provided an important role within communities, as it is estimated that over 91,500 conversations supported people who are living with cancer, or caring for people living with cancer last year.
To offer continued support from the BMIPs during lockdown, Boots has embarked on this project with digital healthcare provider Livi, to make this service available digitally and free of charge.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
According to the NHS England's cancer waiting times findings, the number of people in England being seen by a specialist for suspected cancer following an urgent referral by their GP dropped to just 79,573 in April 2020. This is almost 120,000 lower than it was the same time last year.
Previous Macmillan research collated from 1,020 adults in the UK with a previous cancer diagnosis, has shown that nearly two thirds of people (64%) recently diagnosed with cancer in England have experienced feelings of anxiety, fear or depression whilst waiting for their treatment to start. With many having to wait throughout the lockdown period for a referral for their treatment.
To address these issues, Boots has been working with Livi to add extra capacity into the healthcare sector and improve the way that people access healthcare, advice and medicines. Alongside launching this free virtual BMIP service, it is trialling a range of services where Boots pharmacists will be available for face-to-face advice on Livi’s online platform. Customers will also be able to access a range of in-store diagnostic tools, such as blood pressure checks.
ON THE RECORD
Dany Bell, treatment, medicines and genomics strategic advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Before Coronavirus, many patients told us that being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment was the scariest thing that they could imagine. These anxieties and concerns haven’t gone away – they’ve been made worse by the pandemic.
“Now, people are also contending with isolation from loved ones as they shield, uncertainty around treatment and concerns about their increased risk of contracting the virus. It is vital that people with cancer can continue to access support safely as lockdown eases, which is why we are delighted that the BMIP service is available online, allowing people to get support and advice from trained professionals from the comfort of their own homes.”
Hafsa Dasu, a Boots Macmillan information pharmacist, who is one of the first to deliver this new digital service, said: “During my consultations I have been able to provide reassurance, answer questions about shielding and interpret guidance around medication. I have also given emotional support for patients beginning their cancer treatment.”