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Are you hitting hypertension quality targets?

GPs have just weeks left to hit their hypertension targets before the March 31 cut-off date for quality achievement pay. Hypertension is the most lucrative element in the quality framework, worth £7,875 this year to the average three-partner practice ­ plus thousands more in CHD, stroke and diabetes patients. But guidelines, as much as targets, have dominated the area of hypertension in the last 12 months.

In this special report, Pulse gives an overview of recent developments and provides practical advice on how best to treat.

Hypertension headlines ­ the last 12 months

·GP management of hypertension was thrown into turmoil a year ago when NICE concluded there was no evidence to support first-line use of ACE inhibitors or calcium channel blockers

·NICE's recommendation to revert to using cheaper diuretics first-line in all routine cases was at loggerheads with the British Hypertension Society and its popular ABCD rules

·Research published in September last year warned GPs would need to make much greater use of polypharmacy to hit the 150/90 target

·In October last year, GPs were urged to exception report frail elderly patients for hypertension after research was published showing an increasing number suffer from falls and blackouts

·The number of black patients treated for hypertension is set to leap by one-fifth under Joint British Societies guidelines due out later this year; the JBS is set to endorse the BHS view that risk assessment should be based on cardiovascular disease and not CHD

·In a letter to the BMJ earlier this month, NICE said it was now time to consider limiting the number of hypertension guidelines

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