Has Boots been fiddling cash-strapped NHS out of £30m a year?

Boots pharmacy accused of abusing NHS care scheme to boost profits

High street apothecary Boots is under fire for allegedly forcing its staff to give customers unnecessary medical reviews which are then paid for by the NHS, while Boots profits.

According to an investigation by the Guardian, managers at branches of Boots were found to be directing staff to carry out medicine-use reviews (MURs), and had targets in place to ensure branches delivered.

Each MUR costs the NHS £28, but they could be worth as much as £30m a year to Boots.

The targets implemented by Boots’ management meant chemists were found to be carrying out MURs on customers who did not require them.

The Guardian says that it has seen a 2008 email from a senior regional Boots manager that states: “I personally don’t want colleagues to feel ‘brow-beaten’ but we do need to deliver our targets of 400 MCUs [medicine check-ups – another name for MURs] per store this financial year for two reasons:

1.       Delivering 400 MCUs is a measure of Excellent Patient Care

2.       The company can make £28 profit for each MCU, so each one we don’t deliver is a lost £28.”

This means these Boots branches have been directed to rake in £11,200 of NHS money every year.

If this was replicated across all stores in the country, it would be costing the NHS £30m a year.

Staff reviewing one another at NHS expense

One astonishing claim reported in the investigation comes from a Boots manager in the Midlands who says he was told by bosses to carry out an MUR on himself, and also on other members of staff.

In addition, staff reported that many customers underwent MURs despite them being irrelevant to their condition or medical treatments.

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