Community pharmacies can do more to detect high blood pressure if they are better commissioned to provide such checks, audit suggests

Community pharmacies can do more to detect high blood pressure if they are better commissioned to provide such checks, a Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) audit published today (12 February) suggests.

A one-week audit carried out in 2017 of more than 5,000 community pharmacies found:

  • There were over 220,000 interactions with people about their blood pressure, and  
  • Of the 30,000 blood pressure measurements that were taken, over half were categorised as high or pre-high

High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK and is estimated to cost the NHS £2.1 billion each year.

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the CCA, said: “This audit shows how community pharmacies are already helping to improve the cardiovascular health of the people and patients they serve. It is particularly encouraging that thousands of people with high or pre-high blood pressure have been discovered and referred onwards appropriately.

“This illustrates how community pharmacies are well placed to support the Health Secretary’s drive to prevent ill health and improve care. However, a more robust plan for commissioning these essential checks would enable community pharmacies to do more to improve patients lives and save the NHS money.

“That is why we are calling for more blood pressure services to be commissioned through community pharmacy, as either standalone services or via NHS Health Checks. With the new GP contract, and the establishment of Primary Care Networks, there is now the opportunity for community pharmacies to work with GP practices to collaboratively support patients’ easy access to blood pressure measurement services via their local pharmacy.”

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