The patients who call the NHS 111 service with medicine or minor ailment queries could now be supported with information, support and advice from a pharmacist over the phone (Photo: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images).

Self-isolating Boots pharmacists have started to lend their support to the NHS 111 triage service by providing pharmacy advice to the patients over phone.

The new service began trials with 12 pharmacists last week, and has officially launched on Tuesday (21).

The patients who call the NHS 111 service with medicine or minor ailment queries could now be supported with information, support and advice from a pharmacist over the phone.

Debbie Churcher, who was one of the first pharmacists to take calls on the NHS 111 triage system, said: “As 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.

“With the many people currently isolating at home, patients don’t have the same access to community healthcare, so what we’re seeing is more calls to NHS 111. I’m really proud that Boots can support the NHS in this way.”

Calls are managed through the NHS 111 triage system so healthcare professionals can work remotely. This means that Boots pharmacists who are currently shielded or self-isolating can now continue to provide care for patients and the community, even though they are at home.

Richard Bradley, pharmacy director for Boots UK, said: “The NHS is under an enormous pressure, and particularly with more people isolating at home, services like NHS 111 become even more vital. Our 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.”

Boots is also supporting the government with Covid-19 testing centres at a drive through facilities and around 200 Boots colleagues have already stepped forward to run the testing sites.

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