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Tesco offers half a million free blood pressure checks amid low uptake

Tesco pharmacy will offer around half a million free blood pressure checks across the UK this year, it has announced.

The supermarket pharmacy yesterday (February 7) said it is working with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to “encourage more people to routinely check their blood pressure for free at the supermarket’s network of in-store pharmacies”.

“Almost half a million appointments” are available this year at Tesco pharmacies across the UK subject to availability, it added.


Read more: How to optimise your hypertension case-finding service

It said that these appointments “could help detect tens of thousands of cases of high blood pressure and prevent hundreds of cardiovascular events” like heart attacks and strokes “based on NHS analysis”.

“Warning signs”

The supermarket said this comes amid “warning signs” that “millions are deprioritising routine health checks” during the cost-of-living crisis.

A YouGov study commissioned by Tesco, which surveyed 2,018 adults last month, found that Britons are more likely to service their cars (64%) and household boilers (58%) each year than attend a routine medical examination (31%).

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

The results, revealed by Tesco yesterday, also showed that just 30% of men and a third of women (33%) attend a routine medical check at least once a year.

More than a third (37%) of British adults said they hadn’t had their blood pressure checked in the last twelve months, the research found.

It also revealed that:

  • One in 10 men (11%) had never had their blood pressure measured

  • Of those men, almost a third (31%) believed they only need their blood pressure checking if they have a medical condition or are taking medication

  • Young people are less likely to be checking their blood pressure regularly, with 48% of under-35s having no blood pressure check in the last twelve months compared to 37% across all age groups

Meanwhile, the BHF has estimated that as many as five million adults are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure in the UK.

It revealed last month that nearly half a million people missed out on starting medication to lower their blood pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic.



“Potential to help millions”


Tesco chief executive for the UK and Republic of Ireland Jason Tarry said that “most people don’t realise that they can get their blood pressure checked for free, without an appointment, at an in-store Tesco pharmacy”.
The supermarket is encouraging the public to take up the offer or encourage their loved ones to do so this Valentine’s Day, with “thousands of blood pressure checks available at our pharmacies in communities across the country” this month, he added.


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

BHF chief executive Dr Charmaine Griffiths said that “every week in the UK, around 4,000 people are admitted to hospital for a heart attack or stroke, with treatable high blood pressure contributing to many of these life-threatening events”.


“At a time when the health service is under incredible strain, making blood pressure checks and health information readily available in places like Tesco supermarkets has the potential to help millions of people improve their health and prevent countless heart attacks and strokes,” she added.


Read more: More than 400k pharmacy blood pressure checks done in 10 months


New NHS England data revealed in December 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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