More than 31,000 procedures performed by community pharmacy as part of hypertension service, data shows

Community pharmacies in England carried out more than 31,000 procedures in the first three months of the advanced hypertension case-finding service, according to NHS data.

The data, released monthly by the NHS Business Services Authority, reveals that 923 community pharmacies administered 30,607 blood pressure (BP) checks between the launch of the ‘NHS Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Check Service‘ on October 1, 2021 and end of December 2021.

The figures also show that 144 of these pharmacies also claimed 542 ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) procedures as part of the service, which record a 24-hour average BP.

Patients are eligible for MAPA if they have a BP between 140/90 mmHg and 179/119 mmHg; however, pharmacies will also offer MAPA if requested to do so by a GP practice.

The BP check service aims to identify people aged 40 or over with high BP who have not previously had a confirmed diagnosis of hypertension and refer them to a GP to confirm the diagnosis.

In August 2021, NHS England agreed to provide incentives to pharmacies that meet certain thresholds of activity through the service.

Pharmacies providing at least five MAPA interventions in 2021/2022 can claim £1,000, with an additional £400 paid in 2022/2023 to pharmacies providing at least 15 MAPA interventions. An additional £400 will be paid to pharmacies that carry out at least 20 MAPA procedures in 2023/2024.

As of December 2021, 35 pharmacies in England have already reached the threshold to apply for an incentive payment in 2021/2022.

Although it received complaints from fewer than 1,000 pharmacies, NHS England previously noted that 3,938 community pharmacies had signed up to provide the service as of December 31, 2021.

Paul Wright, chief cardiac pharmacist at the Barts Heart Center at the Barts Health NHS Trust, said ‘early detection and treatment interventions’ were key to the success of NHS goals ‘to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks, accidents strokes and cases of dementia over the next ten years. ”.

“The fantastic early work here demonstrates the value and ability of community pharmacies to perform significant numbers of blood pressure checks, and for those with high results, organized ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to identify those who require further additional intervention to reduce cardiovascular risk and with it a reduction in events,” he said.

“The impact is likely to be gradually felt over the next few years, with increased identification and early treatment and reduction in risk factors leading to lower rates of cardiovascular events.”

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services on the Pharmacy Services Negotiating Committee, said: “It is great to see that many pharmacy teams are now starting to fully commit to this important service and we expect which many more will do over the next few months as time permits.

“The service has the potential to make a big difference to the health of individuals and have an impact on reducing health inequalities within our local communities, with pharmacy teams well positioned to play a greater role in the fight against cardiovascular diseases, alongside colleagues in general medicine.

Read more: Majority of patients treated for hypertension do not have blood pressure control

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