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Here, we provide useful information about the NHS Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Check Service

The NHS Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Check Service offers free blood pressure checks and lifestyle advice for people aged 40 and over in England. The service helps identify hypertension (high blood pressure) and prevent CVD – which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Service overview

Pharmacies in England offer free NHS blood pressure checks to people aged 40 and over. This includes blood pressure checks for people referred specifically to the service by their GP, and also people identified by the community pharmacist.

People with suspected high blood pressure can be offered ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to carry out at home over a 24-hour period. If necessary, people will be referred to their GP for appropriate management or referred to another service.

If people are identified by the pharmacist as likely to develop high blood pressure in the future, they will also be referred to their GP for follow up.

People referred by their GP into pharmacies are contacted within four hours of the referral being received and seen the same day for clinic blood pressure readings and within three days for ambulatory monitoring.

At the end of a pharmacist consultation, where readings indicate:

✚ normal blood pressure, the pharmacist will promote healthy behaviours.

✚ high blood pressure, the pharmacist will offer Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) from the pharmacy and will also promote healthy behaviours.

✚ very high blood pressure, the pharmacist will urgently refer the patient to see their GP within 24 hours and the pharmacist will inform the patient’s GP practice by NHS mail or via another locally agreed platform.

✚ low blood pressure, the pharmacist will provide appropriate advice and may also refer the patient to their GP if there are any concerns.

All blood pressure readings are sent to the general practice from the community pharmacy so records can be updated and appropriate action taken.

It works!

The Rohpharm Pharmacy in Newham, London, was one of the first sites to pilot the service, which began in early 2020, before becoming a national service in October 2021.

“There are so many people with high blood pressure who aren’t aware they have a problem,” Jignesh Patel, the pharmacist at Rohpharm, said. The risk is that within 5-10 years, they may experience a stroke or heart attack – however, through early detection and prevention, we can reduce morbidity and mortality. If blood pressure problems are detected early, lifestyle changes and support with managing the condition can make all the difference and prevent future risk.”

Dr Farzana Hussain, partner at The Project Surgery, Plaistow, which refers patients for blood pressure checks at Ropharm Pharmacy, said blood pressure checks at pharmacies are a convenient way for people to receive the vital check-up.

“My patients can’t always make appointment times at the practice, so walking in for a blood pressure check at the pharmacy is very accessible and more convenient for them,” Dr Hussain said. “Working together in this way, we are already picking up lots of new hypertension cases and will undoubtedly prevent strokes and heart attacks and save lives.” 

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