High street pharmacies offering blood pressure tests to over 40 will ‘save thousands of lives’

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 8:55 pm
High street pharmacies offering blood pressure tests to over 40 will ‘save thousands of lives’ (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)

NHS pharmacies in England will now be able to provide blood pressure checks for people aged 40 and over, starting in October. 

Thousands of lives will be saved as a result of a new deal between high street pharmacies and the NHS.

Rollout to begin soon

High street pharmacies will now be able to offer more blood pressure checks to people aged 40 and over as part of a new deal. Pharmacists will find and offer the tests to people showing symptoms.

The scheme will rollout fully starting in October, having been trialled in some pharmacies since 2019.

Predictions based on NHS data show that 3700 strokes and 2500 heart attacks could be prevented by the tests, meaning around 2000 lives would be saved.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “I want to say a huge thank you to pharmacists for their hard work and commitment to delivering more services to their patients, helping support a healthy nation.

“Pharmacists are the first port of call for minor conditions and it is really encouraging to see even more health services being led from pharmacies, many of which are at the heart of local communities and easy to access.

“These new blood pressure clinics are just one example of the vital, life-saving check-ups pharmacies provide and will go a long way to helping prevent heart disease. I strongly encourage everyone to sign these services up when they come online from October.”

'Delighted'

The new contract will also see local chemists take on a role with the NHS scheme to cut the rate of smoking by offering advice to smokers who’ve recently left hospital.

These moves are part of the wider NHS Long Term Plan, aimed at vastly reducing the number of heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases.

Dr Shahed Ahmad, National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention said: “Cardiovascular disease claims 136,000 lives a year and is a major cause of health inequalities with about half of heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure.

“The detection and control of high blood pressure is one of the best things we can do to save lives and reduce health inequalities. Community pharmacists are ideally placed to deliver this life saving work and I am delighted they are now offering blood pressure checks."