As part of an NHS initiative to help identify patients with undiagnosed high blood pressure, people over the age of 40 can now have their blood pressure checked for free at Boots
Patients will be offered a blood pressure measurement instore followed by a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), if required
Boots has launched the free NHS blood pressure screening service at over 650 of its pharmacies to help detect and diagnose high blood pressure, known as hypertension. The service aims to support the NHS to tackle high rates of undiagnosed cardiovascular disease.
The new service is available through community pharmacies in England to patients over the age of 40 and who have previously not had a confirmed diagnosis of hypertension. Boots pharmacy team members, including pharmacists who have been specially trained to take blood pressure measurements, will recommend the service to patients who may be eligible in the first instance.
The service has launched in 680 Boots stores initially, with plans to roll out the service to further stores across England in the coming months.
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots UK, said: “We are proud to support the NHS to deliver this important new service through our pharmacies. High blood pressure can cause serious health complications including heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, but rarely has noticeable symptoms.
“People who are at greater risk of high blood pressure include older adults, those who are overweight, eat too much salt, don’t exercise enough, drink too much alcohol or caffeine, smoke, are of black African or black Caribbean descent, or have a relative with high blood pressure. Our pharmacy team members will recommend this free NHS service to eligible patients that can benefit from it.”
The new scheme will have two stages. The first stage is a blood pressure check using a blood pressure monitor in store, conducted by a pharmacist. If the blood pressure measurement in the pharmacy is raised, the patient is offered 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). This involves fitting a blood pressure cuff and monitor that takes a reading every 30-60 minutes throughout a 24-hour period during the patient’s routine daily activities and while sleeping. The results will then be shared with the patient’s GP to help inform a diagnosis of hypertension and provide suitable treatment, if required.
As the second most common cause of premature death in England after cancer, cardiovascular disease affects seven million people and causes one in four premature deaths.* The NHS Long Term Plan, which has been put in place to improve care for patients over the next ten years, aims to prevent 150,000 heart attacks and strokes as result of cardiovascular disease. The new service, which can be accessed from Boots, will help contribute to the ambition.**
*NHS England, 2021
**The NHS Long Term Plan, 2019