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NHS rolls out mobile blood pressure teams as pharmacy checks soar


NHS rolls out mobile blood pressure teams as pharmacy checks soar

NHS England is expanding blood pressure checks in the community. Mobile teams visiting places like barbershops and mosques will offer testing and, in some cases,refer patients on to community pharmacies.

In a statement this morning (August 29), it said local hypertension checking schemes launched by NHS and council services in England include one in Barnsley offering tests at barbershops, supermarkets and community centres, with over a third of those seen being referred to pharmacists with high blood pressure.

In Lambeth in South London, NHS teams have worked with Black Thrive and MyCommunity Lambeth to offer blood pressure checks to members of a dominoes club in Brixton. Meanwhile, Birmingham Central Mosque held a health check session last Saturday at which the local primary care network offered blood pressure and heart health checks as well as cancer awareness guidance.

The news comes as the latest NHS BSA statistics show that in May this year community pharmacies in England provided 149,865 blood pressure checks to people aged over 40, more than twice the number recorded last May. In the 12 months to March, pharmacy teams delivered over a million checks.

Chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb said: “The enormous expansion in the number of blood pressure checks delivered over the last year is thanks to the hard work of community pharmacies which have more than doubled the number of blood pressure checks delivered, and the innovation of local teams going into the heart of communities with mobile sites that can visit places like barber shops and dominoes clubs.

“With the number of people living with major illnesses including heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions set to grow substantially over the coming years, it has never been more important to put in place preventative measures like easy to access blood pressure checks that can pick up the early signs and risks, with figures showing teams are on track to prevent more than 1,300 heart attacks and strokes this year alone.”

Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, commented: “This sort of approach, where we go out into our communities and connect with people who wouldn’t usually have their blood pressure checked, helps tackle health inequalities.

“The teams make it easier for people to get tested, they give them confidence to ask any questions they have. When someone is referred to a local pharmacy in their own neighbourhood, we know they’re more likely to attend and get the vital support and treatment they need.

“People have told us they want services more joined up and accessed locally and this is a great example of that.”

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