A partnership between The University of Manchester and Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation has created an opportunity for patients to assess their risk of having cancer in a community pharmacy.
LloydsPharmacy is working in collaboration with the partnership to support individuals in using a specially designed online tool that can help check for symptoms of cancer. Trained LloydsPharmacy pharmacists help participants complete a series of questions during a face-to-face consultation within the pharmacy. The service is currently being piloted exclusively in two LloydsPharmacy stores in Manchester.
The questionnaire, known as REACT (Risk Estimation for Additional Cancer Testing), has been designed to help identify symptoms that could indicate the presence of cancer. Participants are given an estimate of their risk of having cancer and individuals with high risk scores are referred to a GP for further investigations to help improve early diagnosis of the disease.
Jill Pritchard, head of pharmacy services at Celesio UK, comments: “Spotting cancer early can determine whether or not treatment will be successful. Far too many people are diagnosed late, which can significantly impact their treatment prospects. We are hoping that by using our community pharmacy network, we can encourage more people to be tested for cancer and help improve diagnosis rates.”
According to Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation, Greater Manchester has a disproportionately high percentage of people whose cancer is detected only at later stages, when patients’ prospects are poorer and treatment options more limited.
Jill adds: “We want to tackle some of the barriers that stop people speaking to healthcare professionals about cancer. It can be a scary subject and patients will often try to put any warning signs to the back of their mind. We know that community pharmacy is the most accessible healthcare profession and we already have established trusting relationships with our patients, which we think will encourage them to consider getting assessed earlier.”
The REACT questionnaires are conducted in private consultation rooms, led by a specially trained pharmacist. After completing the questionnaire, the patient can receive additional counselling and advice from the pharmacist, who may also recommend a referral to the GP.
Jill continues: “Our pharmacy teams may identify patients who show signs of having cancer-related symptoms, for example someone who is coming into the pharmacy regularly with a persistent cough. They can then advise the patient of the REACT service and encourage them to take part in the consultation.
“Most of the time, symptoms aren’t necessarily indicative of the presence of cancer, but getting tested can give patients peace of mind and also increase their awareness of the risks. If we can make just one life changing intervention through this pilot, it will be worthwhile.”
The project is led by Professor Ken Muir, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Manchester, who said: “One of the ways we can improve rates of early diagnosis is by encouraging people to engage with the health services much sooner. We’re very excited by the potential of the questionnaire and this partnership allows us to bring it right into the heart of the community.”
This service is part of the LloydsPharmacy Healthcare Centres model which is designed to deliver more treatment closer to home, in a community pharmacy setting.
Media enquiries: Joe Scholes/Claire Salmons 024 7643 2055
Notes to editors:
- Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard Innovation is a £2.3million programme to radically improve cancer outcomes in Greater Manchester and eastern Cheshire. It is also part of the national Cancer Vanguard, along with its London partners RM Partners, based at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and UCLH Cancer Collaborative, based at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
- The Cancer Vanguard was set up to pilot new models of cancer care across Manchester and London to improve the rates of earlier diagnosis and detection, improve patient outcomes and experience and reduce variation. Its principal aim is to ensure everyone receives high-quality cancer care when and where they need it.
LloydsPharmacy has around 1,800 pharmacies across the UK. These are based predominantly in community and health centre locations and include 277 LloydsPharmacy in Sainsbury’s branches. The company employs over 19,000 staff and dispenses more than 150 million prescription items annually.
LloydsPharmacy is part of the Celesio UK family which is owned by McKesson Corporation as part of McKesson Europe.
Celesio UK is a leading provider of integrated healthcare services to the NHS specialising in medicines, pharmaceutical care and primary care patient services.
McKesson Europe operates in 13 European countries with 39,000 employees. Every day, the company serves over 2 million customers – at more than 2,100 pharmacies of its own, at about 300 managed pharmacies and at over 5,700 participants in the brand partnership schemes. With 110 own and seven managed wholesale branches in Europe, McKesson Europe supplies more than 55,000 pharmacies and hospitals every day with up to 130,000 pharmaceutical products.
McKesson Corporation, San Francisco, USA, is the majority shareholder in McKesson Europe. McKesson is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information technology.