More than 80,000 patients across mid and south Essex are now monitoring their blood pressure at home as part of an NHS scheme, according to a study by Essex University.

BP@home, which was launched nationally in 2020, allows people to monitor their own blood pressure and submit readings to their GP by telephone and email or via digital platforms.

The stated aim of the initiative was to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases over the 10 years following its launch.

According to NHS England, regular home blood pressure monitoring across a population of 50,000 patients could prevent up to 500 heart attacks and 745 strokes over five years.

As part of the BP@home scheme within mid and south Essex, which was launched as a pilot last year, more than 5,500 people have been referred for a medical review, another 3,333 have been given lifestyle advice, and 471 people have been referred to hospital for further investigation or treatment.

Eight cases of atrial fibrillation and 2,534 cases of diabetes have been uncovered.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Matt Sweeting, interim medical director of NHS Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: ‘It’s great to see the success of our BP@home scheme in supporting so many people to monitor their blood pressure and, working together with health professionals, taking control of their own health and wellbeing.’

According to the Essex University study published last month, the majority of people monitoring their blood pressure at home found instructions for submitting their readings easy to follow. Most also found the process straightforward.

However, the research also revealed that people had difficulties accessing GP appointments and primary care services.

Participants to the study described how their practices were still operating under restrictions introduced during the pandemic, with telephone triage appointments, lack of face-to-face appointments, and even suspended access to previous GP online services. Despite this, some participants described high levels of rapport with practice staff.

There was also evidence that participants were accessing other health providers and sharing blood pressure readings with them.

Pharmacists were frequently mentioned in relation to medication reviews and participants of the study had asked them for advice about their readings, the study noted.