Cancer can be lonely, but support is out there—and when it comes to Macmillan Cancer Support and Boots, the support comes in many forms. Working together for 13 years this year, the partnership has reached a remarkable milestone of £19.9 million raised to support people living with cancer. Additionally, the partnership can lay claim to a number of other notable achievements in direct patient support. 2022 marks ten years of training pharmacists to be Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists, or BMIPs, who specialize in understanding different types of cancer, treatments, medications, and side effects. There is now a BMIP available in every Boots pharmacy in the UK for those seeking one-on-one support. Most recently, BMIPs have included end-of-life and palliative care to the range of services they offer, and 641 Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors have been trained to provide specialist support to people living with cancer and can share hair, skin and other beauty advice to people in Boots stores across the UK.
Bina Mehta, pharmacist advanced practitioner and BMIP at a Boots pharmacy in central London, is keen on offering support to people whose families or loved ones may not understand what they’re going through. “The most rewarding part of being a BMIP is being able to have that one-on-one discussion with someone living with cancer, or their loved one, to establish which kind of help they need, whether it’s a medication, emotional or financial help,” she said. “We are specially trained to be able to put people in touch with the support that’s right for them and to echo the message that ‘you are not alone, Boots and Macmillan are with you during your cancer experience.’”
What’s common in the path that the Boots and Macmillan partnership has taken is the shared goal of making connections on a human level. To further expand on the breadth of resources offered by Macmillan Cancer Support and Boots is the “Talking Cancer” podcast, which aims to shed a light on the nuances that make every cancer experience unique. From racial disparities to age gaps, financial concerns to COVID-19, episodes are hosted by radio presenter Angie Greaves and often feature Boots Macmillan experts who can share targeted advice.
In recognition of World Cancer Day on February 4, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Boots UK invite you to listen to recent episodes, which focus on cancer as a taboo in some communities and the difficulty of discussing end-of-life or palliative care with a loved one. In the latest episode, out February 2, Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots UK, joins Greaves to explain why BMIPs have been trained in end-of-life care.
In Donovan’s words, “Our BMIPs are trained in supporting those affected by cancer from day one of their diagnosis, but understanding how that support differs in end-of-life care is vital. It’s about so much more than providing medicines and often requires more support for caretakers and family members. The additional training was something I was very keen to ensure our pharmacists went through to support the service.”