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UK GPs are best in Europe at treating hypertension

By Nigel Praities

The UK has driven such improvements in care that UK GPs are now the ‘best in Europe' at managing high blood pressure, a new study concludes.

But the researchers claimed the existing targets had done their job and it was time for new and tougher ones.

The Health Survey for England shows for the first time that over half of people on hypertension treatment are controlled below QOF targets of 150/90mmHg.

The outcomes of nearly 15,000 patients were studied in the first rigorous population-based study on hypertension treatment since the new GP contract was introduced.

Some 52% of patients had blood pressure controlled below 140/90mmHg in 2006, compared with 46% in 2003. The average blood pressure was 131/74mmHg in men and 124/72mmHg in women.

Professor Neil Poulter, one of the authors of the study and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Imperial College London, said the results were better than anywhere else in Europe and could be used to bring the QOF into line with clinical guideline targets of 140/90mmHg.

‘We know it is tough, but 140/90 is really where we should be. The evidence is the lower the better, and this is where you would want your blood pressure and where I would want mine,' he said.

Dr Ahmet Fuat, a GP in County Durham and honorary secretary of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said GPs had worked hard but that he expected the society to push for tougher targets in the next round of QOF negotiations.

‘The idea behind QOF was to start to make inroads into the causes of cardiovascular disease and as we achieve the targets to crank them up,' he said.

The study was published in the latest edition of Hypertension.

Advances in care in the UK mean its GPs are the best in Europe at treating hypertension

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