Community pharmacies lead the way in blood pressure checks

The Company Chemists’ Association is proud to take part in the NHS England Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Programme. NHSE’s first Inclusive Pharmacy Practice Programme newsletter is sharing best practice on cardiovascular disease prevention and health inequalities.

Community pharmacies play an integral role in addressing health inequalities in local communities, given their accessibility and ability to provide ‘walk-in’ care. 2018 NICE guidance for promoting health and wellbeing found that underserved groups are more likely to visit a community pharmacy than other healthcare providers. Moreover, a 2021 Public Health England report concluded that local pharmacies are often people’s first and only point of contact with a healthcare professional.

Cardiovascular disease affects over 6m people in England and is a leading cause of premature death. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, does not often have symptoms but can lead to serious problems. The early detection of hypertension is critical. Those in the most deprived 10% of the population are almost twice as likely to die because of cardiovascular disease and residents of the most deprived areas are 30% more likely to have high blood pressure compared to those in the least deprived areas.

The CCA’s members are proud to provide the NHS Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Check Service which helps to identify undiagnosed hypertension amongst people over the age of 40.

Pharmacists and their teams can identify those at risk of having higher blood pressure, test them and refer them into the system.  Additionally, GPs can refer patients with previously diagnosed hypertension to their easily accessible community pharmacy to have their routine checks completed closer to home, at a time and place close to them. As part of the service, all blood pressure readings are sent to the general practice, so records are updated, and appropriate action is undertaken.

As of June 2022, more than 7,200 community pharmacies have signed up to provide the service and over 115,000 checks have taken place in pharmacies.

CCA members have produced a raft of resources to ensure local communities are aware of the blood pressure check service and the need to identify hypertension early. LloydsPharmacy has recently produced one such resource which will be used to inform patients and members of the public about the service, what high blood pressure means and the preventative steps they can take to lead a healthier lifestyle. In doing so, Lloyds expect that more individuals will come forward and benefit from the service, ensuring cases of hypertension are identified and appropriate action is taken thereafter.

You can see the LloydsPharmacy leaflet below:

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