This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

‘Real benefit’: NHS extends optician-to-pharmacy hypertension referral pilot

NHS & health news

‘Real benefit’: NHS extends optician-to-pharmacy hypertension referral pilot

A local NHS-commissioned pilot involving optical practices in the community pharmacy hypertension checking service has been extended for a third year as the latest findings suggest it has reduced the number of patients going to GP surgeries and A&E.

The pilot, which was first launched in Humber and North Yorkshire in July 2022, has been further extended to March 31 next year as an annual report shows that out of 278 consultations in optical practices, 48.2 per cent of cases were referred to community pharmacies with just six per cent ending up at their local surgery or A&E.

The pilot involves optical practitioners offering a blood pressure readings to patients attending for an eye examination if certain criteria are met. Depending on the reading, the practitioner may offer healthy living advice, refer to a pharmacy for follow-up using a bespoke IT platform or escalate suspected cases of hypertensive crisis to A&E, NHS 111 or 999.

Patients who are referred to pharmacies are given a further blood pressure reading and may be provided with an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring device (ABPM) if appropriate.

“The data indicates that patients are being identified and directed to the relevant service,” said Community Pharmacy England, adding: “Analysis of the data has shown that the majority of these interventions have been screened and resolved outside of general practice and emergency services, thus reducing potential additional resources on the already engaged systems.”

Community Pharmacy Humber chief officer Paul McGorry said: “This pilot, though relatively small in scale, demonstrates the synergistic benefits for patients and the professions from working together and joining up our service pathways.

“This shows that community pharmacy can be the glue that binds the disparate primary care professions together to deliver real benefits to patients and the entire ICS.”

The LPC’s professional development pharmacist Caroline Hayward said: “The service has demonstrated the positive value of collaboration between optical and pharmacy owners to improve patient outcomes by increasing awareness of the possible risks of cardiovascular disease and facilitating access to blood pressure checks.”

Copy Link copy link button

NHS & health news