Hypertension Case-Finding Service
Hypertension is the biggest risk factor for CVD and is one of the top five risk factors for all premature death and disability in England. An estimated 5.5 million people have undiagnosed hypertension across the country.
The NHS Long Term Plan commits the NHS to reducing morbidity and mortality due to CVD, tackling inequalities and a shift towards prevention strategies. It specifically states that community pharmacy, in collaboration with other providers, will provide opportunities for the public to check on their health through tests for high BP and other high-risk conditions.
The aims of the service
The service aims to:
- Identify people aged 40 years or older, or at the discretion of the pharmacist, or pharmacy technician, people under the age of 40, with high blood pressure (who have previously not had a confirmed diagnosis of hypertension), and to refer them to general practice to confirm diagnosis and for appropriate management;
- At the request of a general practice, undertake ad hoc clinic and ambulatory blood pressure measurements. These requests can be in relation to people either with or without a diagnosis of hypertension; and
- Provide another opportunity to promote healthy behaviours to patients.
The service has two stages – the first is identifying people at risk of hypertension and offering them blood pressure measurement (a ‘clinic check’).
The second stage, where clinically indicated, is offering ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). The blood pressure test results will then be shared with the patient’s GP to inform a potential diagnosis of hypertension.
Contractors opting to provide the service must undertake both stages of it, where clinically required, i.e. it is not possible to just undertake clinic BP readings and not ABPM.
Currently, the service can only be provided by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
To provide the service, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must:
- Be familiar with the NICE guideline Hypertension in adults: diagnosis and management [NG136];
- Have read and understood the operational processes to provide the service as described in the service specification; and
- Have completed the recommended training on how to use the blood pressure monitoring equipment which should be provided by the equipment manufacturer/supplier.
Additional optional training
Support with additional CPD* can be found on the:
- CPPE hypertension gateway page of the CPPE website; and
- Pharmacy courses page of the Health Academy website.
Pharmacy Team training
The whole pharmacy team can proactively promote this service and support with the recruitment of patients. Teams should be briefed on the service and coached on how to best approach people about the service. A pharmacy team briefing and a guide on how to recruit patients is available to assist contractors to engage and coach their team members.
For more information, resources and the service specification, please follow the below link to the appropriate CPE section.
Pharmacy blood pressure check service finder tool: an online tool on the NHS website that allows healthcare professionals and patients to search for and find a pharmacy that offers free blood pressure checks
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