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London LPC launches hi-tech health test scheme

North East London LPC will use mobile technology to offer patients free blood pressure and heart rhythm tests

A "pioneering" London LPC is using the latest technology to offer patients free blood pressure and heart rhythm tests.

More than 100 pharmacies across six London boroughs are taking part in the scheme, organised by North East London (NEL) LPC to coincide with charity Arrhythmia Alliance's Heart Rhythm Week, which began on Monday (June 2).

As part of the scheme, which is funded by the LPC, 112 pharmacies are using the Nice-approved Microlife monitor to measure blood pressure and screen patients for atrial fibrillation, said NEL LPC clinical lead Bhavin Patel.

Pharmacies are also using the AliveCor heart monitor to measure patients' heart rhythm. This data is sent by email to a cardiac physiologist, who will respond with the results within 24 hours, Mr Patel told C+D last week (May 30).

The scheme has been launched to coincide with charity Arrhythmia Alliance's Heart Rhythm Week, from June 2

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It was the first time pharmacists had "placed their hands" on the "latest mobile technology" to monitor patients' hearts, he said.

Pharmacies will primarily target patients over 40, although anyone over 18 will be offered the checks if they have cardiovascular risk factors, he said.

Mr Patel said he hoped pharmacists would continue the scheme until the end of the month, which would show commissioners that the profession can "work alongside GPs to assist with early diagnosis".

The service, which is being run in conjunction with the Stroke Association and the Atrial Fibrillation Association, is gathering data to be analysed by the University of Hertfordshire, he said.

Mr Patel said his "pioneering" LPC was confident the scheme would eventually be commissioned by the local CCG and then spread to other areas.

Commissioners want to see pharmacies "pull their weight and demonstrate outcomes", he added.

As well as receiving the tests, patients will be asked to complete a self-care assessment form to allow the pharmacist to tailor their health advice to the individual.

This week's activities are the start of a year-long pilot scheme, announced by NEL LPC in April, in which 60 pharmacies will help their patients produce a self-care plan and act as a "co-ordinator" of their healthcare. As well as patients with cardiovascular diseases, the scheme will cover diabetes, respiratory diseases and mental health problems.

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