Blood pressure checks to appear on the high street
Blood pressure checks are set to appear in betting shops and beyond as NHS England replaces clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) with Integrated care systems (ICSs)
This July, 42 Integrated care systems (ICSs) were established in England, replacing the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that have been in place since 2013. ICSs bring together organisations that provide different sort of care in the NHS such as GP surgeries, hospitals, mental health services, local councils and other partners to deliver health and social care services in a joined-up way.
ICSs aim to improve the health and lives of the people in their area by enabling local organisations to work together to better meet the needs of their community. As part of this, they have a focused on reducing inequalities and catching conditions earlier, providing treatment and support before conditions have a chance to progress.
For example, one GP practice in Stockport is going into betting shops to offer blood pressure checks, finding people with high blood pressure before they develop serious health conditions such as heart disease.
Other changes include making mental health staff available to support young people in GP practices, and providing services to meet people’s needs better so they don’t resort to calling the emergency services outside of emergencies.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “Integrated care systems have the power to truly transform the way that we care for people up and down the country – not only will the NHS provide care when someone is unwell or has an accident but alongside our local government partners, we must also now play an increasing key role in managing peoples’ health so that we can catch more killer conditions earlier and save lives.”
“Local areas are already doing this by going out into communities to spot signs and symptoms earlier in places such as sports clubs and betting shops as well as ensuring people can access community support rather than using 999 or going to A&E.”
The changes are set to save an estimated £14 million each year through changes to senior staff roles.
Phil Pyatt, CEO of Blood Pressure UK says: "Making blood pressure checks readily available to those who might not seek them out could be a huge step forward for finding the missing millions who have high blood pressure and don’t know it. It’s a silent killer because it usually has no symptoms until it’s too late. We support the plans of the new ICSs to reach out to people on a local level to provide these simple but life-saving checks."
Read more about ICSs and NHS England’s plans to tackle cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease from Dr Shahed Ahmad National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at NHS England and NHS Improvement.