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Medway pharmacies to offer NHS health checks in year-long pilot

Pharmacies in Medway will take part in a year-long pilot to offer NHS health checks to people who may be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the local council has announced.

Seven pharmacies have been selected to take part in the scheme and are being trained to provide the “health MOTs” to those who “may be at greater risk” of CVD, Medway Council said this week (January 16).

The one-year trial will see pharmacy staff check cholesterol levels, blood pressure, heart health, height, weight and diet, it added. C+D is clarifying when the pilot scheme is due to start.

The NHS health checks, which are offered to those aged 40-74 years, were previously only offered by GP surgeries in the area.

The pilot expands on a similar scheme in other parts of Kent, which has also seen pharmacies offering health checks both by invitation and opportunistically.

It remains unclear whether and how much participating pharmacies will be paid to offer the service.

 

"More accessible”

 

Harvey Dhillon, manager at Hoo Pharmacy, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen for this trial and our friendly advisors are looking forward to delivering health checks throughout 2023.

“We encourage eligible residents to book their appointment and take advantage of this free service.”

Read more: One third of patients register high blood pressure, NHS pilot results show

The public health team in Medway said the trial was recognition of the “role that pharmacies play in supporting patients with minor illnesses and providing health advice, given their accessibility to local communities”.

Councillor David Brake, who leads the public health portfolio at Medway Council, said: “By moving the checks into pharmacies, it is hoped they will become more accessible to local residents, so increasing uptake and helping people to identify and minimise or prevent any potential health problems.”

 

"Perfectly suited” to community pharmacy

 

Amish Patel, chair of Kent and Medway local pharmaceutical committee (LPC), added that the team is “really pleased and excited to have this service come to pharmacies of Medway”.

“The rest of Kent has been delivering the service for a number of years, and Medway has finally joined. It is a great screening service, perfectly suited for delivery by community pharmacy,” he said.

C+D has asked NHS England whether there are any plans to roll out the pilot or offer the service more widely.

PSNC has said that pharmacy teams are “well placed to play a greater part in tackling cardiovascular disease, alongside general practice colleagues”.

 

Which pharmacies are taking part?

 

Seven pharmacies were selected to take part in the trial following a “mapping exercise” that looked at “which areas might need additional support to help increase uptake of health checks in Medway”.

These are:

  • Hoo Pharmacy
  • Medway Pharmacy (Gillingham)
  • Fenns Parkwood Ltd (Rainham)
  • Merlin Pharmacy (Walderslade)
  • Paydens Pharmacy (Chatham)
  • Paydens Pharmacy (Rochester)
  • Bryant Road Pharmacy (Strood)

It comes as new NHS England data revealed last month that one third of all patients screened under a Community Pharmacy Hypertension Case Finding service pilot recorded high or very high blood pressure readings.

Launched as an advanced pharmacy service in England in October 2021, around 8,000 pharmacies are signed up to deliver the service – which falls under an NHSE programme of “high impact” CVD interventions. 

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