More than 100,000 blood pressure checks have been carried out in community pharmacies in England since the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service was launched in October 2021, say pharmacy negotiators.
NHS data — collated by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee — show that 7,200 pharmacies have signed up to the service so far and, as of March 2022, had provided 115,419 clinic blood pressure checks.
Pharmacies have also provided ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) to 4,902 patients over the same time period.
An estimated 15% of adult men and 10% of adult women in England have untreated high blood pressure. Under this new service, pharmacists can offer blood pressure checks to people aged 40 years or over who do not have a current diagnosis of hypertension, and people aged under 40 years who request a check because of a family history of hypertension.
People aged between 35 and 39 years may also be offered a check at the pharmacist’s discretion.
Commenting on the figures, Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC, said: “The service has the potential to make a big difference to the health of individuals and to have an impact on reducing health inequalities within our local communities, with pharmacy teams well placed to play a greater part in tackling cardiovascular disease, alongside general practice colleagues.”
In the first global hypertension guideline to be published in 20 years, the World Health Organization recommended in August 2021 that pharmacological treatment of hypertension could also be provided by “non-physician professionals”, such as pharmacists or nurses, as long as they received the proper training, specific management protocols and physician oversight.