NEW funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) awarded to health and care organisations across Hertfordshire and west Essex will pave the way for a ground-breaking community based approach to detect high blood pressure.
The grant, worth £88,000, will be used to provide blood pressure testing and outreach events at supermarkets, workplaces, football grounds and community events and will target the most disadvantaged regions in Harlow, Lower Lea Valley, Stevenage and Watford.
The project will expand on existing services and is a collaboration between Healthy Hub Stevenage, Hertfordshire County Council’s Health Improvement Service, Hertfordshire and Essex Fire and Rescue Services and Essex and Hertfordshire Local Pharmaceutical Committees. The project has been led by East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group as part of a collaborative project with Hertfordshire and west Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.
It is hoped that the approach will help to reach thousands of people who are less likely to go to their GP surgery for a blood pressure check. It is estimated that there are 6.8m people in the UK with undiagnosed high blood pressure.
The scheme will be available in a variety of community settings by trained advisors from March 2019.
Dr Linda Mercy, Public Health Consultant said: “People often don’t know they have high blood pressure until it’s too late as there are no symptoms – the consequences could be suffering a stroke or heart attack.
“This pilot will help us to identify people who currently have undiagnosed high blood pressure before they suffer any serious illness.”
Dr Haydar Bolat, a GP and lead clinician for the programme added:
“The more that we can do to raise awareness of the risks associated with high blood pressure, the more chance we have of reducing the number of people suffering the consequences.”
The pilot will aim to carry out 5,000 new blood pressure tests in each of the two years that the pilot is run.
Allyson Arnold, Health Service Engagement Lead at the BHF, said: “We were impressed with the community centered approach to targeting the problem of high blood pressure that was proposed and the close working relationship they have with other local organisations.
“This funding is among the £1.5 million that the BHF has awarded across the country to test community-based approaches to blood pressure testing. We urgently need to find the millions of people across the UK living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, and this innovative project in Hertfordshire will help us in doing that.”
High blood pressure – or hypertension – means that your blood pressure is consistently higher than the recommended level. It is usually symptomless but over time can lead to heart failure and increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Nearly 30% of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but it is estimated that a further 6.8m people are living with the condition undiagnosed.
High blood pressure can be caused by physical inactivity, being overweight or obese, having too much salt in your diet, smoking, regularly drinking too much alcohol or having a family history of high blood pressure.
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