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Pharmacists should approach GPs to recruit hypertension patients, NHSE says


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NHS England has encouraged community pharmacists to proactively approach GPs and PCNs to recruit patients for their new hypertension service.

All pharmacies in England can offer targeted cardiovascular (CVD) screening to patients aged over 40 from this month as part of the hypertension case-finding service.

NHS England previously said that pharmacists would case-find and offer the tests to people showing symptoms.

But NHS England head of pharmacy integration Anne Joshua said pharmacies involved in the service must not only recruit patients in the pharmacy but can also approach practices in their primary care networks ‘and beyond’ to find new patients.

Speaking to delegates at the Pharmacy Show conference in Birmingham this week, she added: ‘We have talked to a huge number of GPs and they are falling over with the workload. If you approached them and offered to help I’m sure they would receive it with open arms.’ 

‘If practices in your PCN say they could do with some additional support to do ambulatory monitoring and ad-hock blood pressure checks then do them, there is nothing to stop you in the service specification.’ 

She suggested that several pharmacies could work ‘collaboratively’ to share the additional workload and appointments.  

‘It is an area that is worth exploring with your clinical directors in your PCNs – talk to them about that,’ she added.  

It comes as a new PCN service focussed on tackling CVD diagnosis and prevention launched this month in a ‘reduced’ form.

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.

And PCNs will be asked to ‘improve the identification of those at risk of atrial fibrillation’ through ‘opportunistic pulse checks’ when checking blood pressure from April 2022.

Meanwhile, as part of the NHS England plan to improve access to GP practices announced last week, GPs have been told they must sign up to the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) before December to access the £250m winter cash.

A version of this story was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist

Click to complete relevant cardiovascular CPD modules on Pulse learning. 

READERS' COMMENTS [4]

James Boorer 19 October, 2021 8:57 pm

There is an issue here – Community pharmacies to be paid £15 per BP check. Primary care get < £5.00 for an entire year of hypertension care via QOF + IIF with all the blood tests, uptitration etc. if we want better hypertension care we need to fund primary care appropriately (NICE model hypertension monitoring costs at £75 per year)

Michael Farrell 19 October, 2021 8:57 pm

If I can find a pharmacist who would do no more than double my workload I will kiss their feet

(Paraphrase from House of God )

Patrufini Duffy 20 October, 2021 3:39 pm

Yes James. Spot on. Perverse tariff discrimination. Pharmacists are a key part of the infrastructure and done a good job front-line no doubt. But, pharmacistss can do Botox and sell Givenchy perfume, do PCR testing for travel and give patients herbal concoctions for their IBS and L’Oréal for a child’s eczema. Supplementary income is permissible. And you can’t sell a plaster or mouthwash. Convenient your persecution. You all hold NHS contracts. And you’re singled out to publish your salaries. I won’t start on the “NHS” dentists and their “I’m too busy but I’m available privately” games.

Dr N 21 October, 2021 8:49 am

and thats reducing my workkload? – explain