Best skills-based volunteering initiative

Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support


There are 2.7 million people living with cancer in the UK today. This figure is set to almost double by 2040, as the population ages, treatment becomes increasingly effective and survival rates improve. This, combined with increasing pressure on NHS services means that support for people coping with cancer is especially important. 

Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have been in partnership for 10 years, combining their experience to offer pharmaceutical and beauty advice to thousands of people living with cancer in their local communities. 

Boots and Macmillan’s clinical specialists and learning and development teams devised a bespoke programme to help Boots’ pharmacists and No7 beauty and skincare advisers who volunteer with the scheme to support people living with cancer. 

Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIPs) are specially trained to help people understand cancer diagnosis, treatment and medication, and Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors (BMBAs) can give practical tips to help people manage the visible side effects of cancer and treatment. 

Pharmacists take part in an online course that takes learners through clinical information about cancer such as symptoms, diagnoses, treatments and side effects patients might experience, but also builds up skills in listening effectively and offering customers supportive conversation. 

Following an online module to learn necessary background information, No7 advisers take part in a day-long face-to-face workshop to learn practical techniques and guidance for managing some of the visible side effects of cancer and the associated treatment. This is included as part of core No7 training with the option to opt-out, to encourage higher uptake in the training. 

In 2018, over 2,800 Boots staff were trained and available to offer advice in stores across the country. 

This wide-reaching initiative has provided extra training and career development to more than 5,600 employees, who survey data shows have held over 92,000 clinical conversations and over 44,500 beauty consultations with people living with cancer.

With training modules and courses being refreshed throughout 2019, the partnership continues to adapt and modernise, engaging and developing employees while helping local communities.

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