Case study 8

Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of illness and death in the UK an in Surrey, it is the leading cause of the gap in life expectancy between the most and least socio-economically deprived areas.

In addition, hypertension (high blood pressure) is the main cause of 45% of all coronary heart disease while atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most powerful single risk factor for suffering a deadly or debilitating stroke.  In Surrey Heartlands, both are under-diagnosed, with four out of ten people unaware they have hypertension and a third of the estimated AF population undiagnosed.

To help improve diagnose of both conditions, free blood pressure and pulse checks are taking place in 17 community pharmacies in Surrey Heartlands as part of the BP+ services.  Launched in April 2019, and working in partnership with Community Pharmacy Surrey and Sussex (CPSS), citizens over the age of 35 can now be offered easy access to blood pressure and pulse checks.  Should hypertension or AF be identified citizens are provided with lifestyle advice to manage the conditions and if required, signposted to any relevant healthcare services, including GP practices.  The community pharmacy service is part of wide-range of BP+ services launching in 2019, including in the workforce and the wider community.

As well as reducing the number of heart attacks and stroke in Surrey Heartlands, the service aims to increase public awareness of the importance of knowing your blood pressure and pulse check numbers but also encourages and educates citizens about leading healthier lifestyles.

James Wood, CEO at CPSS, said that every day 1.2million people go to their local community pharmacy teams for information and advice on how they can make positive changes to their health and lifestyles.

“This new service will increase detection of hypertension and AF and help not only to identify people who may develop these conditions in the future but, importantly, give members of the public the right support and advice to manage any potential risk.”

For more information and the list of pharmacies offering blood pressure and pulse checks, visit