NHS England & Improvement has said community pharmacies could save 2,000 lives over the next five years by offering blood pressure checks to people aged 40 and over.
An agreement between the PSNC and the government on the third year of the community pharmacy contractual framework included the introduction of a smoking cessation and hypertension case-finding service. The latter will receive funding from outside the global sum to incentivise pharmacies to meet targets.
NHSE&I said pharmacies looking for people with hypertension and providing blood pressure tests for those with symptoms could prevent 3,700 strokes, 2,500 heart attacks and 2,000 deaths between now and 2026. The service starts in October.
The PSNC picked out the hypertension service as one of the “clear positives and hard-won concessions” it secured from the 2021-22 CPCF.
NHSE&I said predictions showed “that if 2.5 million people” had their blood pressure checked, “an additional 250,000 people could receive lifesaving treatment for hypertension.”
The hypertension service and smoking cessation service, which will see pharmacies offer support over a 12-week period to smokers who have been discharged from hospital, forms part of an objective set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to find more people at risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia.
“More high street heart checks for blood pressure will mean more rapid detection of killer conditions and quicker treatment for patients who need it,” said professor Stephen Powis, England’s national medical director.
“Pharmacies are in the heart of communities and so they are ideally placed to provide these convenient checks so if you are worried about your health, please do get tested. It could save your life.
“The NHS Long Term Plan aims to crack down on killer conditions and this action by pharmacy teams will go a long way in helping us achieve our ambitions of saving more lives.”