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Bringing more patients into community pharmacy

Healthcare is becoming more about choice and pharmacy needs to offer services that are designed with patients in mind, says speciality director at Celesio UK, Ruth Poole

Providing patients with more choice is the key to delivering sustainable healthcare that is fit for the future, and since I joined Celesio UK 12 months ago, we have spoken a lot about how we’re on a mission to transform healthcare. It’s clear that this doesn’t happen overnight, but we have been making steady progress toward that goal. With the launch of Healthcare Centres from LloydsPharmacy, I believe we are taking a huge leap forward.

I subscribe to the idea that patients each have their own set of unique needs and preferences and the most effective models of care are built with this in mind. What works for one person, might not work for another. As healthcare professionals we have a duty, not only to provide care and deliver treatment, but also make sure patients feel comfortable and well looked after.

A big part of making someone feel comfortable is to do with environment and the more we talk to patients, the more we hear that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.

Flexibility is crucial. Offering choice to the patient can help them feel more in control which can lead to them complying better with their treatment. Not only is that better for them, but it’s also cheaper and results in less waste and improved health outcomes.

That’s why we’re in such a great position as an organisation to offer care to patients at every stage of their health journey. Whether they want to receive their treatment in hospital, at home or in a community pharmacy – using our online doctor service or taking part in one of our patient support programmes – we can offer the same levels of care at any of these touch points.

Through Healthcare Centres from LloydsPharmacy we are providing an alternative for patients who may not like the idea of having to travel to hospital every week for their treatment, but also want to keep their home life separate from their health issues.

Pharmacies are such critical pillars of the communities they serve. Walk into any of our stores and you’ll see the close relationships and personal rapport that our pharmacy teams have with patients. They’re able to create a relaxing atmosphere in the more familiar surroundings of the high street.

Traditionally, patients have to travel to hospital to receive treatment, which we know can be costly and inconvenient. Regular trips to hospital are stressful enough, without having to worry about where to park or putting a strain on friends and family to help you get there and back.

As well as being more convenient, Healthcare Centres from LloydsPharmacy provides patients more contact with our pharmacy teams who can offer expert guidance and advice on other conditions, as well as medicine management and adherence.

One of the services that we can provide is an injection treatment for breast cancer. Some of the side effects of this drug include rashes on the skin and cold symptoms like blocked nose or a sore throat.

In our LloydsPharmacy stores, we have skin and pain experts who can talk to the patient about managing these conditions. We also have a range of over the counter cold and flu remedies, which can help to alleviate the symptoms. In the hour or so after receiving the injection, the patient has all of this expertise at their fingertips.

This is a great example of more joined up healthcare – with multiple professionals collaborating to ensure the best outcome for their patient: from the consultant who sits with the patient to decide the best treatment setting, to the nurse and pharmacist on site in the pharmacy administering the treatment and providing additional clinical support.

Everyone remains close to the patient throughout their treatment journey and keeps each other informed, helping to paint a more accurate, unique picture of their progress. 




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