Quality evaluation of community pharmacy blood pressure (BP) screening services: an English cross-sectional survey with geospatial analysis

Ravina Barrett, James Hodgkinson

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Objectives: The primary objective was to assess the accuracy (calibration and validation status) of digital blood pressure (BP) monitors used within community pharmacy in England and the secondary objectives were to assess the overall quality of the BP service by assessing service prevalence, service utilisation and other in-service considerations.

Design: A cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Primary-care retail-pharmacies.

Participants: 500 pharmacies that contribute to government dispensing-data were invited by post to complete the survey. Private contractors were excluded.

Interventions: We conducted a questionnaire survey with a follow-up (September 2018 to December 2018).

Results: 109 responses were received. 61% (n=66) of responding pharmacies provided a free BP check to their patients. 40 (61%) pharmacies used recommended validated clinical metres, 6 (9%) had failed validation and 20 (30%) provided too little information to enable us to determine their monitor’s status.

Conclusions: Responding pharmacies were able to provide useful BP monitoring services to their patients, though quality enhancements need to be implemented. Majority of pharmacies use validated BP monitors, however, there was a lack of range of cuff sizes, variation in replacement and calibration of monitors and apparent absence of such practice in a minority of pharmacies alongside variation in training standards. We noted higher frequency of BP screening in the most deprived postcodes.

We recommend in-service redesign and delivery improvements, and suggest professional bodies and researchers work together to create clearer frameworks for front-line practitioners, creating appropriate incentives to facilitate this service redesign.

Funders and policy setters should consider the value added to the National Health Service and other healthcare agencies of such screening by pharmacy providers both nationally and internationally. It has the potential to reduce complications of undiagnosed hypertension and the medicines burden that it creates. Future work should examine the impact of pharmacist-led BP screening on patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere032342
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2019


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