LloydsPharmacy parent company Celesio UK has announced the launch of new community pharmacy-based scheme toserve as an alternative to hospital admissions.

The Lloydspharmacy Healthcare Centres service, designed to enhance the role of community pharmacy, is an end-to-end ‘alternative option to patients who require infusion and injectable medicines’, it said.

The model, which will be co-located with a LloydPharmacy in each location, will provide capacity for hospital and enable patients to decide if they want to be treated at home or the health centre, as well as empower them over their own healthcare needs.

Infusion or injection treatment will be delivered by a specialist nursing team and potentially a clinically trained pharmacist, offering efficiencies and cost savings.

The first stage of the concept will start in February 2018, with three contracts already signed in the North East, the Midlands and Manchester area.

The move follows the closures of more than 190 LloydsPharmacy branches due to the Government’s cuts to English community pharmacy funding and increase in ‘retrospective clawbacks’.

Of the Healthcare Centres launch, Ruth Poole, Celesio UK specialty director, said: ‘My vision over the next three years is to provide patients with the widest possible choice on where they have their treatment.

‘We need to find tangible solutions to make life a lot better for patients and meet their needs.’

Higher patients’ expectations

Ms Poole said that the initiative ‘comes at the time when patient expectations of better access to services and improved experience have never been higher’.

She said: ‘It’s time to give people flexibility. Populations are fitter than 20 years ago and expectations of healthcare are different.’

The model will initially focus on areas such as oncology and immunology. Services will include specialised medicine collection, subcutaneous injections, infusion clinics and testing and screening.

Ms Poole said: ‘In a way, we’re ahead of the Government.

‘Rather than sitting here as an industry, and have another round of funding cuts, we thought it’s time to design a good future for patients and investors.’