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Amid mounting care backlog caused by the pandemic, LloydsPharmacy’s healthcare centres have been lauded for supporting patients by expanding their capacity to care and relieving pressure on NHS trusts by preventing delays in cancer treatments.

The pharmacy chain launched its healthcare centre model three years ago with a view to delivering more treatment through community pharmacy and bringing care closer to patients’ homes.

A recent webinar discussed how the multiple’s collaborative approach with various hospital trusts helped release more than 4,000 hours of waiting time at the height of the pandemic, whilst improving overall patient experience, increasing operational efficiency and alleviating pressures on the NHS.

The webinar observed that the multiple’s initiative has reduced cancer treatment waiting time by providing an efficient service and accessible location as well as a relaxing and stress-free environment for patients.

Detailing how the service impacts patient experience, Divisional head of nursing at NHS Foundation Trust, Victoria Mumford, said patients are uneasy about visiting hospitals so through the strategic partnership, these centres have extended the opportunity to treat patients who require infusion or subcutaneous injection treatments in an alternative and welcoming environment

She added: “The mobile units are strategically located in easy to access locations, reducing waiting times, providing flexibility for treatment appointments and making them more accessible for patients.”

It was also noted that the partnership with LloydsPharmacy has supported NHS Trusts incrementally too, by providing the ability to release patient capacity and alleviate pressure from a financial and workforce angle.

Speaking at the event, James Clark, senior business development manager at McKesson UK said: “We have come across lots of challenges amid the pandemic, but we are alleviating pressure on the NHS, solving capacity problems for those who require treatment and reducing costs through nurse utilisation.”

Principal pharmacist Rhiannon Walters-Davies added: “From a trust perspective, the model it is very efficient – the nurse-to-patient ratio differs when you can manage multiple treatments at once and move to various locations within the UK, meaning we can increase our capacity to care and reduce overall costs in the long term.”

Recent studies have shown that more than 650,000 people with cancer in the UK have experienced disruption to their cancer treatment or care because of Covid-19 with around 150,000 of those having delayed, rescheduled or cancelled treatments.

In addition, the research has shown that the average wait time for cancer treatment almost doubled from 62 days after a referral by a GP, to 104 between May and December 2020.

The healthcare centres model is part of the pharmacy chain’s owner McKesson UK’s transformational healthcare strategy, which aims to offer more choice and convenience for patients.

This involves working with NHS Trusts and other health organisations to identify ways to improve patient outcomes and drive efficiencies.

The services offered at five LloydsPharmacy healthcare centres across the UK include specialised medicine collection, subcutaneous injections, infusions clinics and phlebotomy.

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