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NHS takes blood pressure screenings to barbershops in battle against strokes, heart attacks

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Men can now have their blood pressure checked while visiting a barbershop. The NHS is extending its blood pressure screening services to different local venues, including barbershops, mosques, and pharmacies. This initiative aims to address the increasing risk of strokes and heart attacks among men.

NHS staff’s life-saving actions coincide with recent data indicating that high street pharmacies administered 149,865 blood pressure checks to individuals over 40 in May 2023. This marked a notable increase from the previous year’s count of 58,345 in May 2022, the NHS said. “More than 1,300 heart attacks and strokes could be prevented this year thanks to the high street checks.”

“The total number of blood pressure checks delivered by pharmacy teams in the year to March was more than 1 million (1,053,278),” the NHS added.

Furthermore, the government has committed £645 million for a range of added pharmaceutical services. This includes a target of conducting 2.5 million extra blood pressure checks annually at community pharmacies. This effort is estimated to avert over 1,350 cardiovascular events per year – equivalent to averting 113 heart attacks and strokes each month.

“The significant increase in blood pressure checks conducted over the past year is attributed to the dedicated efforts of community pharmacies,” said David Webb, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for NHSE. “They have more than doubled the number of checks administered and have shown innovation through local teams. These teams are reaching the core of communities by setting up mobile sites in locations such as barber shops and dominoes clubs.”

“As major illnesses like heart disease are expected to rise significantly in the future, implementing preventive measures becomes crucial,” he added. “Easy access to blood pressure checks can detect early signs and risks. Current data indicates the potential to prevent over 1,300 heart attacks and strokes this year alone.”

The checks in communities nationwide include:

  • Mobile blood pressure service named How’s Thi Ticker?, operated by the NHS and council, reaching barber shops, supermarkets, and community centres in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
  • Black Thrive, MYcommunity Lambeth, and the NHS collaborating to serve a Brixton dominoes club.
  • Birmingham Central Mosque.

Besides, GPs in Warrington are offering home checks via an app.

The Health Foundation projects that by 2040, 9.1 million individuals will have a major illness, a surge of 2.5 million from 2019. This underscores the NHS’s focus on priorities like prevention and early intervention through tools such as community blood pressure checks.

The NHS recently reported that its new national online GP registration service has been used by over 425,000 patients within its first year. Managed by NHS England, this service offers efficient and user-friendly access to GP registration since its launch in August 2022.

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