Pharmacy teams had 221,091 interactions with patients regarding their blood pressure over a one week period in 2017, the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) – which represents the UK’s largest multiples and supermarket pharmacies – announced in a report yesterday (February 12).
The audit of pharmacies from seven of the largest multiples across Great Britain – representing just under 40% of the sector – showed that during this period, 30,169 blood pressure measurements were taken and “high” and “pre-high” readings were identified in more than half of these tests.
CCA chief executive Malcolm Harrison said the audit results prove that community pharmacies are already helping to improve patients’ cardiovascular health, but stressed the need for “a more robust plan for commissioning essential” pharmacy blood pressure services – either as a standalone solution or part of the NHS health check.
The most common interaction in the pharmacy was to offer patients lifestyle advice, which occurred in a quarter of cases (56,282 occasions), while one in five (43,100) involved discussing the patient's hypertension medicines, the CCA added.
Two thirds of pharmacies that took part in the audit offer a blood pressure measurement service, but “it is expected that most of these services are offered free to patients and funded by the pharmacy”, the CCA said.
Mr Harrison said the audit “illustrates how community pharmacies are well placed to support the health secretary’s drive to prevent ill health and improve care”.
“With the new GP contract, and the establishment of primary care networks, there is now the opportunity for community pharmacies to work with GP practices to collaboratively support patients’ easy access to blood pressure measurement services via their local pharmacy,” he added.