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CCA: Pharmacies will prevent 15k heart attacks and strokes by 2026

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CCA: Pharmacies will prevent 15k heart attacks and strokes by 2026

Community pharmacies in England will have prevented 15,000 patients from suffering a heart attack or stroke by 2026, the Company Chemists’ Association has estimated.

The CCA issued a statement today (April 19) welcoming the success of the Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Check service since it launched in October 2021 and calling on the Government to address long standing funding and workforce issues to make pharmacies “the first port of call for cardiovascular care”.

Noting that pharmacies delivered almost 600,000 checks in the first year of the service and identified over 25,000 individuals with high blood pressure, the CCA drew on modelling by University College London researchers to calculate that over 600 heart attacks and strokes have been prevented.

It estimated that by 2026 almost 15 million checks will have been carried out, preventing 15,000 heart attacks and strokes.

The CCA called for an enhanced role for pharmacies to “provide the care these newly identified patients need” and take the responsibility for their treatment away from “overwhelmed GP surgeries”.

“Thousands of lives can be saved with ambitious commissioning and the investment to match,” the organisation claimed, calling on the Government to address what it described as a real-terms funding deficit of 30 per cent over the past eight years and to “accelerate training plans” for pharmacist independent prescribers so they can play a greater role in cardiovascular disease management.

CCA chief executive Malcolm Harrison said: “Pharmacies will deliver 15 million blood pressure checks by 2026. The sector can, and should, play a huge role in the nations fight against cardiovascular disease.

“Whilst the funding model for community pharmacy is broken, it is not beyond repair. Investing in community pharmacy to become the first point of contact for cardiovascular disease is a sure-fire way of freeing up GP capacity, reversing health inequalities and ultimately saving lives.

“On average pharmacies are underfunded by more than £67,000 every year. It’s now time that the Government and NHS invest in the tremendous potential of community pharmacy”.

John Maingay, Director of Policy and Influencing at the British Heart Foundation, said: “By delivering blood pressure checks to more people more easily, high street pharmacies are helping to save lives every day. Local pharmacies are well placed to detect high blood pressure and help people receive appropriate care, while also relieving some of the immense pressure on GPs.

“High blood pressure often doesn’t present any symptoms but if left untreated, it can lead to a life-threatening heart attack or stroke. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked at a local pharmacy, GP surgery or during a free NHS health check in England, especially if you have a family history of heart and circulatory diseases. A quick and simple five-minute test could prevent a future heart attack or stroke, and even save your life.”

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