An online tool to help patients find a pharmacy offering the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service has been launched for patients in England.

As part of the move, pharmacy contractors have been reminded to ensure their pharmacy profile on the NHS profile manager is up to date, including details of whether they provide the service.

The new search tool allows patients to find a nearby pharmacy that offers the service and filter their search by which locations are currently open.

The page on the NHS website reminds patients: ‘A pharmacist can check your blood pressure for free. You do not need to see a GP.’

And it informs patients that they are eligible for a free blood pressure check if they are aged 40 or over and live in England, as long as they do not already have high blood pressure and have not had their blood pressure checked by a doctor, nurse or pharmacist in the last six months.

It also informs patients about what to expect when they have their blood pressure checked by a pharmacist.

The NHS has also updated its NHS UK web pages relating to blood pressure conditions, which tell patients over 40 that they can ask for a free blood pressure check ‘at most pharmacies’, with a link to the service finding tool.

The community pharmacy hypertension case-finding service was introduced in October 2021, with more than 100,000 blood pressure checks delivered in the first six months.

In May 2023, community pharmacies in England delivered a total of 149,865 blood pressure checks to over 40s – over double the 58,345 delivered in the same month last year.

David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, commented at the time that these figures suggested ‘teams are on track to prevent more than 1,300 heart attacks and strokes this year alone’.

And since April this year, pharmacy technicians in England have been legally permitted to perform blood pressure checks as part of the hypertension case-finding service, supported by VAT changes that make services carried out under the supervision of a pharmacist VAT-free.