Boots UK has launched a new palliative care service in its pharmacies to provide ‘accessible support’ to patients who are terminally ill.

The multiple has worked with the NHS and cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support to create a list of palliative and end-of-life medicines and has committed to maintaining stocks of these at over 2,000 pharmacies.

As part of this commitment, there will be an online stock checking tool for patients and carers to look at the availability of medicines in their local store, which Boots said it hope would ‘aid accessibility’.

Around 4,200 pharmacists have also been given additional training on how to support those in palliative and end-of-life care, as well as their family members.

It comes as a survey from Macmillan found that almost one in four (23%) people with advanced or terminal cancer in the UK have found it harder to access healthcare due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research, which surveyed 2,085 adults in the UK with a previous cancer diagnosis between 12 November and 2 December 2021, also found that 25% said they were feeling stressed, anxious or depressed as a result of the pandemic.

Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots said: ‘Discussing end-of-life care is never easy, but it is very important. At this extremely difficult time for patients and their families and carers, ease of access to medicines and support can make a big difference.

‘We hope this new, national service, available at Boots stores across the UK, will provide valuable support to patients who need palliative and end of life care.’

Dr Rosie Loftus, chief medical officer at Macmillan, said:‘We are proud to be working with Boots on this important new service, which will make an enormous difference for patients with cancer and other terminal illnesses, by improving access to vital medicines and support. Together we are doing whatever it takes to support people during this difficult time.’

It comes after, Boots UK launched a pilot last year with online delivery website Deliveroo to increase accessibility of medicines for minor ailments alongside beauty products.