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PHE heart age campaign regional pilot saw pharmacists sending hundreds of patients to GP

By Elisabeth Mahase

06 Feb 2019

A pilot of Public Health England’s controversial ‘heart age’ test covering one part of England, saw pharmacists sending nearly 800 patients to their GP over two months, according to the campaign evaluation.

The trial, which took place in February and March in parts of the South West of England, involved pharmacies encouraging people to take an online test to find out their ‘heart age’ and risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

This pilot came before the launch of the national campaign. Nearly 600 pharmacies in the NHS England South South-West region took part in the pilot, with 8,822 conversations regarding the heart age tool recorded, according to the PHE evaluation.

This led to ‘771 patients being referred to their GP’, it said.

The report also noted that many older populations were reported as not able to access the tool, due to not having access to the internet or not being confident using their devices.

This local pilot was followed by the national heart age campaign in September last year, which asked members of the public over 30 to take the online test to find out their ‘heart age’.

The test, which is still available online and involves a number of physical and lifestyle questions, provides an immediate estimation of the person’s heart age, as well as a prediction of their risk of having a heart attack or stroke by a certain age.

However, if the person does not know their blood pressure or cholesterol level when completing the quiz, it tells them they need to get tested and should make an appointment with their GP, nurse or pharmacist.

A version of this article firs appeared on our sister publication Pulse

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