Those living with cancer who may have had treatment paused or delayed are being offered free access to online video pharmacy consultations through Boots.

Boots, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, has more than 2,000 trained Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIPs), offering specialist information and support on cancer, its treatment and possible side effects.

To offer continued support from the BMIPs during lockdown, Boots has worked with digital healthcare provider Livi, to make this service available digitally and free of charge.

Dany Bell, treatment, medicines and genomics strategic advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Before coronavirus, many patients told us that being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment was the scariest thing that they could imagine. These anxieties and concerns haven’t gone away – they’ve been made worse by the pandemic.

“Now, people are also contending with isolation from loved ones as they shield, uncertainty around treatment and concerns about their increased risk of contracting the virus. It is vital that people with cancer can continue to access support safely as lockdown eases, which is why we are delighted that the BMIP service is available online, allowing people to get support and advice from trained professionals from the comfort of their own homes.”

The new service will be facilitated by Boots’ digital health partner, Livi, via its online platform. The pair strengthened their partnership in April 2020 when Boots announced it had selected LIVI, as its preferred partner as it looked to expand its digital offering for customers.

Juliet Bauer, UK managing director of Livi, added: “The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the critical need for better access to high-quality digital healthcare. At Livi, we want to ensure everyone gets the expert medical care they need, at the touch of a button. Coronavirus has shown digital technology can play a vital role in helping maintain continuity of care for some of our most vulnerable or in-need.

“Our partnership with Boots means those affected by cancer can quickly and safely consult with trained healthcare professionals. This is particularly paramount at this time, when access to healthcare may have been disrupted due to the pandemic.”

Delays to diagnosis and treatment of cancer during the pandemic could cause an extra 35,000 cancer deaths, according to a BBC Panorama investigation. To tackle the backlog in cancer appointments the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy (APPGRT) has published a six-point plan to transform radiotherapy services, including an innovation fund for advanced radiotherapy IT and technical solutions.