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More than 4,000 pharmacies signed up to hypertension service in 4 months

Over a third of all pharmacies in England signed up to the hypertension case-finding service within the first four months of its launch, C+D can reveal.

As of January 28, a total of 4,221 community pharmacies in England were actively registered for the service, NHS Business Service Authority (NHS BSA) said in response to a freedom of information (FOI) request by C+D.

Launched on October 1 last year following a pilot in six selected primary care network areas, the hypertension case-finding service allows pharmacy teams to identify patients with undiagnosed hypertension by taking their blood pressure – referred to as a “clinic check” – and, where necessary, offer ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM).


541 ABPM interventions claimed


Of the 4,221 pharmacies registered, a total of 144 contractors claimed for 541 ABPM interventions between October 1, 2021 and January 28, 2022, the FOI response also revealed.

Participating contractors receive an initial set-up fee of £440 for signing up to the service. They can also claim £15 per clinic check and £45 per ABPM intervention, receiving incentive payments once they have delivered over a certain threshold of activity.

Those delivering five ABPM interventions in 2021/22 can claim £1,000, according to guidance issued by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

The claimable incentives will reduce to £400 in 2022/23 for 15 interventions and will remain at £400 in 2023/24 for 20 interventions.

PSNC: “Slow start on activity”


Commenting on the FOI results, PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton told C+D today (February 18): “It is great to see that a third of community pharmacies have already signed up to provide the service, but a slow start on activity was expected during a period when the winter and a new wave of COVID-19 was increasing demands placed on pharmacy teams.”

PSNC expects “many more pharmacies” will join the service, which it has been keen to get commissioned “for many years”, he added.

“The number of interventions will increase over the next couple of months, as pharmacies complete their work on the 2021/22 Pharmacy Quality Scheme,” he predicted.


Top claiming pharmacies


Among the 144 contractors who claimed for ABPM incentive payments, a Jhoots branch in Stapleford, Nottingham was the pharmacy with the highest number of ABPM claims at 35, according to the FOI data.

It was followed by Camberley Pharmacy in Surrey with 34 claims, and Well pharmacy branches in Plympton and Crownhill, Plymouth which made 21 and 20 claims respectively.

Following the launch of the service, PSNC told C+D in October that it could take “most” pharmacies some months to go live with the hypertension case-finding service, given the “preparatory work” contractors need to complete.

Meanwhile in August, PSNC announced it had negotiated additional incentive funding for the service.


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