Lifesaving blood pressure screening could be delivered in pharmacies

IPU pilot identified high blood pressure for one in four participants

Sunday 15 September 2019: Pharmacy-based population health checks for hypertension would save lives according the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU). Based on a very successful pilot in 2018 the IPU is now calling for a national roll out which would assist in the prevention, detection and management of suspected hypertension.

A study by Imperial College London published in the Lancet earlier this month highlighted that Ireland has a particular problem with high blood pressure. IPU Secretary General Darragh O’ Loughlin said, “We now know that Ireland has among the highest levels of high blood pressure in the developed world, but very worryingly we also have among the lowest diagnosis rates.

“High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and heart attack; it is an important warning sign from the body that cannot be ignored. This study is a similar warning sign and should encourage the Government to take urgent action.

“A pilot undertaken by the IPU found that a pharmacy-based screening service to detect people at risk of hypertension would have significant benefits. Across 68 community pharmacies nationwide over 1,100 people over the age of 50 were checked during a two-month period. 27% were identified as having high blood pressure and 5% had an irregular pulse.”

Department of Health, but sadly all too often these are ignored. We are urging the Department to not ignore the long-term impacts of undiagnosed hypertension and roll out nationwide screening without delay.”