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The NPA is urging its members to back May Measurement Month (MMM), a worldwide public blood-pressure screening initiative.

The campaign seeks to raise global awareness of hypertension and create the evidence base to influence policy makers.

Resources are available from the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), which is organising the campaign.

Organisers are encouraging a range of health professionals to volunteer to screen people and not just community pharmacies or NPA members.

Leyla Hannbeck, NPA chief pharmacist, said: “Checking patients’ blood pressure is a relatively simple intervention that can save lives. The NPA believes that community pharmacy should play a far greater role in screening and ultimately managing hypertension.

“Complications from high blood pressure cost the NHS £2bn a year and make up 12% of all GP appointments but we want to change that.

“Many of our members already offer blood pressure checks and the NPA is working hard to enable community pharmacy to do more in this area.”

Last year during MMM, 1.2m people in 100 countries were checked as part of the initiative.

Neil Poulter, Imperial College London professor and ISH president, said: “We can often reduce blood pressure with known lifestyle changes and existing drugs, but unless people know they have hypertension they can’t be treated. 

“So, a key objective of MMM is, not only to increase public awareness, but also to collect the evidence needed to help influence global health policy and make blood pressure screening more widely available around the world.”

Digital campaign resources and a toolkit, which includes the ISH’s required methodology, are available to download at www.maymeasure.com.

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