In the south west of England, pharmacists sent nearly 800 patients to their GP during a pilot of Public Health England’s (PHE) ‘heart age tool’ in 2018.
The tool was piloted in the NHS England South West region during February 2018 and March 2018 as part of a PHE campaign for pharmacies to raise awareness of heart health and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by encouraging adults to use the ‘One You Heart Age’ tool.
The tool asked patients a series of lifestyle questions, promising to “let users know how old their heart is (in comparison to their physical age) in less than three minutes”.
An evaluation of the pilot found that 771 patients were referred to their GP by a pharmacist as a result of “discussions and blood pressure checks due to the campaign”.
The 592 pharmacies that took part in the pilot reported having 8,822 conversations with patients regarding the campaign, 40% of which occurred during medicine usage reviews or new medicine service consultations.
The evaluation report said: “The feedback from the campaign has been that patients and customers found the Heart Age Tool useful with 771 patients being referred to their GP thanks to discussions and blood pressure checks due to the campaign.”
However, it added: “Many pharmacies mentioned older populations not being able to access the Heart Age Tool due to not having access to the internet or not being confident using their devices.”
Following the pilot, PHE launched the tool nationwide as part of a wider heart health campaign in September 2018, which encouraged patients aged over 30 years to take the test and input various lifestyle factors including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.