THE NHS announced plans on Tuesday (29) to expand blood pressure checks to more locations within the community, including barbershops and places of worship.
It is part of a major drive to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
The NHS said it would apply the learning from its Covid vaccination programme and use local teams to reach out to neighbourhoods to find potential health problems before they become more serious.
It comes as latest figures show that more than 1,300 heart attacks and strokes were prevented this year as a result of blood pressure checks offered at pharmacies.
“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 barbershops and dominoes clubs,” said David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officer for England.
“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,” he said.
The Health Foundation estimates that 9.1 million people will be living with a major illness by 2040, 2.5 million more than in 2019, which is why prevention.
“Having high blood pressure can significantly increase your risk of having a heart attack and stroke, but it can be difficult to know you have it unless you check because it doesn’t usually have any obvious symptoms,” said John Maingay, director of policy and influencing at the British Heart Foundation.
“We urge everyone to take up a free blood pressure check in your neighbourhood – it’s quick, easy, and could help save your life,” he said.