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One in two unaware of pharmacy blood pressure services, NPA finds

More than half of respondents to a National Pharmacy Association (NPA) survey are unaware of private or NHS blood pressure monitoring services offered by pharmacies.

NHS England (NHSE) launched a hypertension case-finding service a year ago as an advanced service, and it was revealed in June that community pharmacies had completed 115,419 blood pressure checks on patients.

However, according to an NPA-commissioned survey – which was completed by 1,020 England-based respondents between October 7-11 – only 48% believed that many pharmacies offer private and NHS blood pressure services.

The NPA commissioned this survey ahead of the annual Ask Your Pharmacist Week campaign – running from today (October 31) until November 7. This year, the campaign focuses on raising awareness of the services offered by pharmacies.

 

Public awareness of older services "mixed"

 

The survey found that the public awareness of services offered by pharmacies is "mixed".

The large majority, 68%, know that pharmacies offer flu jabs – despite the sector being commissioned to offer these since September 2015.

The survey also revealed that only 56% believe that pharmacies in England offer consultations for those who are prescribed a new medicine for a long-term condition.

This service, known as the new medicine service (NMS) started being commissioned as an advanced service from October 2011, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.

The NMS is also expected to be expanded from April next year to include antidepressants.

While the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service is newer compared to the flu jab and NMS services – with the GP referral pathway being launched in November 2020 – the survey revealed 51% "believed it to be true that GPs can formally refer patients for same-day clinical advice from their local pharmacist about minor ailments".

NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick said: "The results of this survey show that there is still some way to go in terms of raising the public’s awareness of the clinical services now available in pharmacies.

"During Ask Your Pharmacist Week, we’ll focus on specific NHS services, like the NMS, rather than a more general message about pharmacy advice".

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