Launched this week (May 17), the service sees pharmacists or trained colleagues give patients a heart age score, along with a cardiovascular risk assessment, blood pressure reading and body mass index calculation.
Patients “will be provided with a personalised summary of their numbers, risk score and importantly the areas for health improvement”, a Numark spokesperson told C+D.
The service is not suitable for those under the age of 25, patients with pre-existing heart conditions or those who are pregnant, but Numark said they were “keen to engage” with those who were unaware of their risk level or who have high blood pressure.
The service was launched in response to a Numark-commissioned YouGov poll of 2,028 adults in the UK, which found that one third of respondents feel unhealthier following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationally commission heart health checks
Numark’s free heart health-check service is not funded at present, the spokesperson told C+D. However, it “further champions the important role that community pharmacy can play in helping the public better understand their health needs”.
Community pharmacies should be commissioned to offer a similar health check service, a view that “is backed by 61% of the survey participants”, the spokesperson added.
“This latest research and pilot from Numark are just the start of how we plan to further highlight the critical role community pharmacy plays in improving public health,” they said.
Service could reduce risk of heart disease
Numark managing director Jeremy Meader said that the group hopes the pilot service will “actively help curb the increased health risks lockdown restrictions have imposed on the health of the nation”.
“There are now twice as many people feeling unhealthier than there are feeling healthier, following the impact of COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Meader added. “It’s not just an increase in weight that is putting more pressure on the nation’s health post-pandemic; adults who drink now openly admit to drinking frequently on a weekly basis, and almost twice as many smokers have increased how much they smoke.”
Mr Meader added that pharmacy teams could play “a pivotal role” in offering everyday health support, including reducing the risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
The Department of Health and Social Care told C+D that it intends to commission a nationwide pharmacy heart health-check service, depending on the findings of a pilot in selected primary care network areas.