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Rishi Sunak tests hypertension service at Knights Pharmacy opening

The chancellor of the exchequer tested out a new blood pressure-checking service while visiting the newly opened Knights Pharmacy in Bedale, North Yorkshire.

Rishi Sunak met staff and had his blood pressure checked under the NHS England and NHS Improvement-commissioned hypertension case-finding service during his visit on Friday (March 25).

Rishi Sunak (left) with pharmacy manager Diane Stoker (right)

“We know that pharmacists are the responsive, local heartbeat of our healthcare system,” Mr Sunak said.

“This service is going to have a positive impact on identifying blood pressure issues in those who are currently undiagnosed,” he said.


All Knights pharmacies to offer service


Launched in October last year, the 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.

Pharmacists administering the advanced service are encouraged to target patients aged 40 years or older, who can then “be referred to their GP to confirm diagnosis and for appropriate management”.


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


C+D revealed last month that over a third of all pharmacies in England had signed up to the service within the first four months of its launch.

Knights will offer the hypertension case-finding service from all of its branches across England and Wales, of which there are more than 90, the pharmacy noted in its announcement of the chancellor’s visit.

Knights Pharmacy superintendent Pete Horrocks said he was “very grateful that Mr Sunak was able to come and open our new premises here in Bedale, as well as seeing how the hypertension case-finding service works in practice”.

“It was also really beneficial for us to speak on the current challenges facing our sector,” he added, “as well as the success stories our industry has achieved”.

The chancellor delivered his spring budget last week (March 23), which prompted the National Pharmacy Association to point out that while Mr Sunak talked about “addressing the cost-of-living crisis”, community pharmacies are also facing costs that are “squeezing the life out” of them.

“Utility bills, locum fees and business rates are all taking their toll, and NHS funding is nowhere near keeping up with the inflationary pressures in our sector,” the NPA argued.


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