Some 220,000 patients will be given home devices to enable their GP to remotely monitor their blood pressure, under a new NHS England scheme.
Patients selected for the home checks will use the small machines to measure their blood pressure and ‘send the reading to their GP to review by telephone, email or through a digital remote monitoring platform’, NHS England said.
NHS England has has distributed the monitors to CCGs, which have arranged onward distribution to GPs, who will select the patients they think will benefit most from more regular checks.
Search and stratification criteria could be based on age, blood pressure level, deprivation, ethnicity, pre-existing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, NHS England said.
They also confirmed that there are no targets attached to the programme for GP practices.
More than 65,000 of the blood pressure monitors, which are similar to those used in GP practices and wrap around patients’ upper arms, have already been distributed to patients.
NHS England medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said: ‘It’s vital that people with high blood pressure keep track of their levels, so they can report any significant changes that could indicate a potentially deadly stroke or heart attack and this simple but lifesaving innovation offers people efficient and convenient care.
‘By using these monitors, and reporting the readings to local teams, patients are able to quickly and easily update GP teams with a regular snapshot of their blood pressure health. These simple checks will help us to save lives.’
Health secretary Sajid Javid added: ‘We know technology can transform the care the NHS provides to patients and these innovative blood pressure devices will give people the tools they need to monitor their own health at home.
‘This is just one way we’re backing the health service to harness the potential of new technology, to support hardworking staff and save thousands of lives’.
The scheme aims to support the NHS long-term plan’s ambition to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases over the next decade, with blood pressure monitoring ‘estimated to prevent 2,200 heart attacks and almost 3,300 strokes over five years’, NHS England said.
NHS England guidance says: ‘Home blood pressure monitoring has been identified as a priority for cardiovascular disease management as the NHS recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that patients can manage their hypertension well and remotely, reducing the need to attend GP appointments.’
All pharmacies in England can offer targeted cardiovascular (CVD) screening to patients aged over 40 from last month as part of the hypertension case-finding service.
This is backed by the PCN incentive scheme, which rewards PCNs on the ‘follow-up’ of patients with one-off high blood pressure readings to ‘confirm or exclude’ hypertension, as well as the resulting rate of hypertension diagnoses.
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