First pharmacy breast cancer treatment service launched in North Lincolnshire by LloydsPharmacy

A LloydsPharmacy Healthcare Centre based in Scunthorpe is the first pharmacy to provide a breast cancer treatment service through a partnership with Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG). The first clinic providing the service through a nurse-delivered subcutaneous breast cancer treatment injection took place this month at the LloydsPharmacy branch in Marsden Drive.

This innovative service enables patients to receive their three weekly injections, administered by an oncology nurse, closer to their homes. The collaboration between LloydsPharmacy and NLaG is setting new standards in bridging the gap between community pharmacy and hospital care and puts patient care at the forefront of the new service.

Celesio UK (parent company of LloydsPharmacy) announced the launch of its Healthcare Centres late in 2017. The transformational new service supports hospitals to deliver treatments in the community instead of an acute hospital setting, thus creating efficiencies for the Trust and potential improvements to patient outcomes. Current services delivered under the Healthcare Centres’ concept include work with the Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard to spot signs of cancer earlier, a pharmacist-delivered osteoporosis injection service (denosumab) in the West Midlands and an omalizumab immunology service in Scunthorpe.

Andy Burton, director of community services at Celesio UK, says: “We want to make it easier and more convenient for patients to receive their treatment and free up busy hospitals to deal with more acute cases.  We launched our first subcutaneous injection service from our LloydsPharmacy Scunthorpe store earlier this year for patients with severe allergic asthma. We have now added to this with the first breast cancer treatment available from community pharmacy which will benefit patients in the local area and save up to 14 hospital trips a year out of the total 17 treatments they receive.

“Patient appointments for their treatment are no longer fraught with the stress of car parking and long waits, instead they have been replaced by a service with a dedicated nursing team delivered in a convenient community pharmacy. Our nurse-delivered service has the ability to deliver 1200 treatments a year, benefiting not only patients, but teams within the hospital to enable them to prioritise their care.  Further patient pathways are being reviewed to enable other patients to benefit from this cutting edge service.”

Suitable patients may be referred to the community pharmacy service following a discussion with a nurse on the ward at Scunthorpe hospital. All referrals to the clinic are reviewed by the patient’s oncologist.

Specialist LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare (LPCH) oncology nurses deliver the treatment in the Scunthorpe pharmacy which takes around 30 minutes plus an observation period to ensure that the patient has no adverse reactions. The nurse will discuss any side effects and symptoms prior to the administration of the treatment and advise on how best to manage these or refer back to their oncology team where appropriate.

The nurse currently responsible for running the pharmacy clinic has spent time working with the oncology nurses at the hospital integrating into the team. Should there be any concern about a patient, this will be escalated to the Trust oncology team, ensuring that a follow-up plan is in place. Channels of communication are left open with the LPCH lead nurse having monthly updates with the oncology team based at Scunthorpe.

LloydsPharmacy has also collaborated with the Trust clinical team to co-design the treatment pathway. As part of the design process further efficiencies have been identified in the patient pathway.

Paul Fieldhouse, chief pharmacist and clinical lead for medicines optimisation at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, says: “It is great to see Scunthorpe hospital at the forefront of improving services for patients. Hospitals and community pharmacies working in partnership has a huge potential for people to have wider access to NHS services.”