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Boots UK boss calls for data sharing with NHS to 'transform' healthcare services

Sophie Smith
14 March 2023

Boots UK's Managing Director has said that sharing patient data between community pharmacies and the NHS could "transform the way healthcare services are delivered".

Currently, community pharmacies in England do not have full read and write access to NHS patient health records. Last year, the Professional Record Standards Body advised that pharmacists should have access due to their involvement in care and treatment.

Seb James, Managing Director of Boots, said: "Just as we can advise our customers which skincare product might be suitable for them – patient care should be personalised and seamless, offering complete continuity between hospital, GPs and the local pharmacy.

"Not only would this take critical strain out of the NHS system, but it would also crucially make it easier for patients to get access to the care and services they need. One way to help facilitate this is the better sharing of patient data between community pharmacy and the NHS. With patient consent, better data sharing could transform the way healthcare services are delivered."

Speaking today at Digital Health Rewired in London, James also referred to examples of how Boots’ data could help improve patient health outcomes. A recent study by Imperial College London found that loyalty card data could be an early predictor of ovarian cancer.

The study tracked the spending of consenting Boots Advantage Card holders to investigate a link between a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and a pattern of buying over-the-counter pain and indigestion medications.

What else is Boots doing to transform healthcare services? 

The health and beauty retailer has extended its partnership with Our Future Health - a project that aims to "create one of the most detailed pictures ever of people’s health to help transform the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases".

Boots is also expanding the range of healthcare services it offers patients. As part of this, Boots provides services commissioned by, and delivered on behalf of, the NHS and offers private services digitally and in-store.

In addition, the retailer has announced a new private pilot diabetes screening service that will launch in May 2023 at seven stores across Manchester, London and Birmingham.

Powered by LumiraDx’s HbA1c diagnostic test, Boots believes it can deliver this service on behalf of the NHS and "welcomes conversations with national and local service commissioners". It also said that diabetes could be a suitable area to benefit from greater data sharing between community pharmacies and the NHS.

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