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CCA: Hypertension case-finding service to halt 15k cardiovascular events by 2026

The community pharmacy hypertension case-finding service is on track to prevent almost 15,000 heart attacks or strokes by 2026, according to estimates from the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA).

The CCA pointed to data from the NHS Business Services Authority showing that pharmacies had conducted over 250,000 blood pressure checks in the first year of the service, which launched in pharmacies across England in October 2021.

Over 25,000 of these screenings detected cases of high blood pressure, with modelling by University College London suggesting that 600 heart attacks and strokes were prevented as a result, the CCA said on Wednesday (April 19).

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

Its “projections” suggested that pharmacy teams will carry out over 15 million blood pressure checks under the service by 2026, detecting over 650,000 cases of high blood pressure and preventing 8,800 strokes and 5,800 heart attacks.

But the organisation said pharmacies could “go further and provide the care these newly identified patients need”.

It challenged the government to “take up our offer and commission pharmacies as the “first port of call for cardiovascular care”.

However, additional funding and more independent prescribers (IPs) are needed to make this a reality, the CCA warned.

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

While it noted that there are centralised plans to train more IPs, it warned that “there are no clear roles for them to use these skills”.

Training plans should be “accelerated” so more pharmacists can “play their part in cardiovascular management”, it said. 

 

Pharmacies "can play huge role"

 

CCA chief executive, Malcolm Harrison, commented that community pharmacies “can, and should, play a huge role in the nation’s fight against cardiovascular disease”.

Although the funding model for community pharmacies in England is “broken”, “it is not beyond repair”, he stressed.

“Investing in community pharmacy to become the first point of contact for cardiovascular disease is a sure-fire way of freeing up GP capacity, reversing health inequalities and ultimately saving lives,” he said.

Read more: Pharmacy technicians granted powers to deliver more clinical services

Meanwhile, the British Heart Foundation’s director of policy and influencing, John Maingay, said that community pharmacy blood pressure checks “are helping to save lives every day”.

It follows the news earlier this month (April 4) that legislative amends have made it possible for pharmacy technicians to carry out blood pressure checks for the hypertension case-finding and smoking cessation services.

 

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