This site is intended for health professionals only

Boots wants access to patient records to enable expansion of diabetes management service

Boots wants access to patient records to enable expansion of diabetes management service

Major pharmacy chain Boots has said it wants improved record sharing with GPs in order to be able to expand its diabetes management service.

Boots’ managing director Seb James said that cooperation between GPs, hospitals and local pharmacies would ‘take critical strain out of the NHS system’ and allow patients to get access to the services they need. 

Speaking at the Digital Health Rewired Festival on 14 March, he also announced that Boots will be piloting a private diabetes screening service from May at seven stores across Manchester, London and Birmingham, which are cities with a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Following an appointment to assess suitability, patients would take the LumiraDx HbA1c finger prick diagnostic test, providing a result within seven minutes, and then be advised to discuss this with their GP if it indicates potential type 2 diabetes. 

Mr James 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.’

Community pharmacies in England do not currently have full read and write access to NHS patient records. 

Last year, the Professional Record Standards Body advised that pharmacists should have full read and write access to patients records due to the nature and complexity of their involvement in care and treatment. 

In his speech, Mr James highlighted diabetes as a key area that could benefit from greater data sharing between community pharmacy and the NHS, with around 850,000 people living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes

He said: ‘As well as having community pharmacies like Boots perform screening tests, there could be an expanded role for diabetes management in community pharmacy. 

‘Our pharmacy team members could support with checks when patients collect their medicines and feed this information back to their GP via their patient record. That could be really powerful.’

Boots’ new private diabetes screening service may subsequently be rolled out to more stores in the next year if there is demand from patients. 

Mr James also revealed that Boots is extending its partnership with Our Future Health, a project aiming to transform the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases.

Last year, a study suggested that screening all 40 to 70-year-olds for diabetes using a HbA1c test would find undiagnosed cases of diabetes more than two years earlier.

In February, pharmacy leaders said ‘Pharmacy First’ schemes are not an attempt to replace GPs and should be seen as an opportunity to work collaboratively with other parts of primary care.

A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist.


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.


Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Turn out The Lights 5 April, 2023 3:38 pm

Drowning man reaches out to other drowning man to try and stop themselves going under ? result?

Scottish GP 5 April, 2023 8:30 pm

Want our data, entered at enormous cost to us, so you can peddle expensive medications?
Great deal for GP!

David Church 6 April, 2023 10:32 am

Apart from our local pharmacies being under critical strain themselves, I think this is a very logical stance from Boots.
Unfortunately, those in control in the NHS somehow did not foresee it, and the computer systems are just not able to get ready for it for some time to come yet, despite all the work put in by GPs, and the ability of some other IT-areas to create multi-access uniform-data-storage systems for communication.

Finola ONeill 17 April, 2023 2:10 pm

Our future health is a research and data project recruited by NHS digital after the failed attempt to drain GP records with the GPDPR project 2021.
the Goldacre review recommended Trusted Research environments of which this is one it appears from ‘Our future Health” website.
At least patients are recruited and it would appear consented unlike the GPDPR project and automatic App upload they keep chasing.
The research is all about data, genomics, etc determining future health and prevention.
We already have the data and knowledge we need. The single most important preventable disease modification is obesity; thus impacting on all the downstream diseases that causes (type 2 diabetes, CVS, OA, etc, etc, etc).
And the government have been told by their Food Tsar what is needed; Dimbleby report; ie advertising, tax etc fast food, processed food industry.
Our government, like the rest are not interested in health or disease prevention.
They are interested in the healthcare industry, pharmaceutical industry, genomic tech and health tech industry and Big Data.
Why tax fast food and processed food when you can spend billions on moderna’s fat busting injections and prioritise the pharmaceutical industry and the industrial food/farming industry too.
No matter that processed and fast food poisons the body in ways far beyond BMI alone.
Doctors need to speak up.
We were taught about public health and primary health prevention at medical school.
We know what a horrendous issue obesity is.
Why are we watching governments and the pharmaceutical industry pursue medicalisation of what is a societal and government issue not a medical issue.