Tackling high blood pressure report published by PV

Community pharmacy has an opportunity to expand and enhance its contribution to the national agenda around preventing, detecting and managing hypertension. This is according to a new report published by Pharmacy Voice and supported by Public Health England (PHE).

The report, Tackling high blood pressure through community pharmacy, highlights existing best practice in tackling high blood pressure through community pharmacy and makes 12 recommendations for maximising the community pharmacy contribution to preventing, detecting and managing hypertension, including:

  • Launch a long-term, coordinated blood pressure awareness campaign across the UK community pharmacy network
  • STP leads, local commissioners and primary care providers should integrate community pharmacy based blood pressure testing and diagnosis into disease prevention and management strategies
  • All community pharmacies should be equipped with a validated blood pressure monitor, and have staff trained to use them
  • Promote and support commissioning of NHS Health Checks from community pharmacy
  • Improve coordination between general practice and community pharmacy to support people taking antihypertensive medicines, and allow pharmacy teams to share data with GPs and other healthcare providers via an integrated patient records system.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Elizabeth Wade, director of policy and communications at Pharmacy Voice, said: “Hypertension is a major priority and a huge amount of work is already happening to tackle it but there’s potential for community pharmacy to do more.”

She explained that the report aims to consolidate the ideas people in the industry have about reducing cases of hypertension, close the gaps between primary care providers and push some of the boundaries of clinical potential in pharmacy. In particular, she highlighted the opportunity to make the most of pharmacists’ expertise as they have the capability to lead interventions and relieve pressure on GPs.

Ms Wade added: “The report outlines some important ways the sector can work with public health teams, other primary care providers and their community partners to help people maintain healthy lifestyles and better control their blood pressure.

“The twelve recommendations included in the report are ambitious but practical proposals for how we could maximise the community pharmacy offering in tackling high blood pressure. We hope that they will promote both debate and, more importantly, action within the sector and from national and local partners as we work together to meet this challenge.”

Jamie Waterall, national lead for cardiovascular disease prevention at PHE, commented: “There are 5.5 million people with undiagnosed high blood pressure in England, making it the third biggest cause of early death and ill health.

“Clearly more action is needed and I welcome this new report which showcases the important work pharmacy teams are doing to address the condition and explores new opportunities to better promote prevention, detection and management of high blood pressure.”

Commenting on the report, Clare Kerr, head of healthcare policy and strategy at LloydsPharmacy’s parent company Celesio UK, said:  “We wholeheartedly support the publication of Pharmacy Voice’s report on tackling high blood pressure through Community Pharmacy. This is a great example of how pharmacy can be the health and wellbeing hub in the community as highlighted in the Community Pharmacy Forward View.

“LloydsPharmacy conducts over 20,000 blood pressure checks from its branches every year. Preventative health is going to be an important part of the future sustainability of the NHS and is a key feature of the Five Year Forward View. We can make a difference by both preventing people developing hypertension in the first place by raising awareness of the actions they can take, and supporting those with the condition to manage it well helping to prevent strokes and other illnesses.”

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