Numark has launched a new pilot scheme to boost good heart health across its select pharmacies.

The ‘Heart Health Check’pilot is now operational across 50 Numark and Rowlands pharmacies in Northern England after a study found that a third of UK adults felt unhealthier now compared to before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the service, patients are invited in-branch to receive a heart-age score, along with a cardiovascular risk assessment based on their height and weight measurements, blood pressure readings and a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation.

The service also offers appropriate lifestyle advice and support or signposting to other local health and support services.

“Many people have struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle during lockdown. Whether it’s excess pounds, more alcohol or less exercise, it’s important to take steps to identify risk factors and get support to act on them,” said Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP and clinical director of patientaccess.com who supports Numark’s new pilot.

Numark unveiled the scheme after a study it commissioned in April found that there was mounting pressure on the nation’s heart health with UK adults reportedly at their heaviest and most unfit post Covid-19.

The nationwide study conducted by YouGov, via a poll of 2,028 UK adults, revealed the potentially damaging impact Covid-19 had on general everyday health of the population.

Commenting on the current health of the nation, Numark managing director, Jeremy Meader, said: “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.

“Altogether this is presenting a deteriorating health picture for the UK in the wake of the pandemic. There are now twice as many people feeling unhealthier than there are feeling healthier, following the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

“Pharmacy is well placed to help manage and reduce the risk of physical health conditions such as heart disease, cholesterol and diabetes. In the wake of the pandemic, pharmacy teams can help play a pivotal role in offering everyday health support.

“By piloting a free health check-up, we hope to actively help curb the increased health risks lockdown restrictions have imposed on the health of the nation. By taking learnings from the pilot over the coming weeks ahead, we also hope to help shape and influence further provision and commission of more local Public Health services across England.”

Mark Bather, managing director for Rowlands, concluded: “Our network is committed to offering face-to-face healthcare advice and treatment across all areas of everyday health. We have witnessed first-hand some notable impacts on the nation’s health over the course of this pandemic and will continue to keep our doors open for those looking to seek support and care in restoring good health.”

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