All suitably trained members of the pharmacy team will be able to deliver blood pressure checks from 1 December, it has been announced today.
And there will be a 'renewed focus' on ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, helping to identify even more people at risk of heart attack and stroke, the pharmacy negotiator said.
Currently, under the hypertension case-finding service, the whole pharmacy team can identify people at risk of hypertension and offer them a blood pressure check, but it can only be carried out by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
Where clinically indicated, pharmacy professionals must then offer ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), and then share results with the patient’s GP to inform a potential diagnosis of hypertension.
But from 1 December, any suitably trained staff member will be able to deliver the service within community pharmacies, with clinical supervision from the pharmacist.
Community Pharmacy England (CPE) said today that the 'relaunch' of the service would allow pharmacy owners to 'make better use of skill mix’ and would also ‘increase provision’ of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM).
An updated service specification and further guidance will be published shortly, CPE added.
This comes alongside an expansion of the Pharmacy Contraception Service, which allocates funding to allow community pharmacists to initiate prescriptions for oral contraception.
CPE negotiating team member Stephen Thomas said: ‘The opportunity to make better use of skill mix will be vital for the Hypertension Case-Finding Service, and with more funding now available for it and for the new Pharmacy Contraception Service we do now believe that pharmacies should go ahead with providing these services as soon as they can.’
And Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at CPE, described the addition of skill mix as 'a real boon for pharmacy owners' that would 'help us take the service to the next level'.
Earlier this month, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said prevention for cardiovascular disease must be extended out of general practice and into the ‘entire medical, nursing and pharmacy professions’.
And he stressed the importance of accessible healthcare.
It was also announced today that the highly anticipated Pharmacy First common conditions service in England will launch at the end of January.
Payments for Pharmacy First, the expanded Pharmacy Contraception Service and the re-launched blood pressure check service will be ‘bundled’ together by March 2025, meaning pharmacies will have to provide all three to be eligible for funding.
And CPE also said it had negotiated a write-off of funding over-delivery worth £112m.
A version of this article first appeared on our sister title Pulse.