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CCGs should help GPs use technology to diagnose hypertension, says report


3 November 2016

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Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have been advised to support GPs in using emerging technology to self-test and self-care for hypertension, in a Government-backed report.

The British Heart Foundation report, Blood Pressure – How can we do better, outlines how individual CCGs are performing in diagnosing high blood pressure and is backed by Public Health England and NHS England.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have been advised to support GPs in using emerging technology to self-test and self-care for hypertension, in a Government-backed report.

The British Heart Foundation report, Blood Pressure – How can we do better, outlines how individual CCGs are performing in diagnosing high blood pressure and is backed by Public Health England and NHS England.

In the report CCGs are given a list of ways to improve diagnosis and management of high blood pressure, including “supporting practices to have self-test BP (blood pressure) stations in the waiting room” and “Support practices to evaluate emerging technologies that can help patients and clinicians to monitor and manage high BP”.

New data from Public Health England estimates that 24% of the population or 13.4 million people have either GP recorded or undiagnosed hypertension.

Furthermore, 5.5 million people in England are not aware that they have hypertension and of those that do know, one in three people’s blood pressure levels are not controlled in line with NICE recommendations.

But research shows that for every 10mmHg reduction in blood pressure, the risk of a life changing heart attack or stroke is reduced by 20%.

Dr Matt Kearney, national clinical director for cardiovascular disease prevention for NHS England and national Clinical Advisor for Public Health England, said: “This new resource, written by clinicians for clinicians, can help hard-pressed GPs work in new ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment of people with high blood pressure.

“By making better use of community pharmacists, encouraging more self-measurement of blood pressure, and auditing data more systematically so we can spot cases of hypertension that are missing or under-treated quicker."

Catherine Kelly, director of prevention, survival and support for the British Heart Foundation, said: “Once diagnosed, people can take action to lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of developing coronary heart disease, the UK’s single biggest killer.

“Not only does this have vast patient benefits but the cost saving to the health service could be significant, with the condition costing the NHS an estimated £2 billion.”

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