High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

The Vision

The vision for tackling high blood pressure (BP) in Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) is that our local communities have the best possible BP, and that C&M achieves the national ambitions for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention in all communities. The national ambition for high BP is that 80% of high BP is detected and treated to recommended (NICE) targets by 2029.

More recently, NHSE published accelerated objectives for high blood pressure optimisation in 2023/24; at least 77% of known high blood pressure patients should be treated to target by March 2024. At present, this figure is just over 60% for Cheshire and Merseyside (ranging from 54.9% to 63.3% at Place)

Why is it important?

CVD is the biggest contributor to the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor in the Northwest, and it is a leading cause of ill health, premature death and health inequalities in C&M.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a reduction in testing, monitoring and treatment of ‘ABC’ CVD risk conditions was seen in C&M and nationally. Blood pressure saw the biggest impact and is slower to recover than other risk conditions.

The NHS Long Term Plan, Core20PLUS5, the Faculty of Public Health and the Royal College of General Practitioners all highlight the importance of prioritising tackling high blood pressure

What are we doing?

The CVD prevention landscape has evolved significantly over 2022, with the return of Cardiac Networks, publication of a national CVD Prevention Recovery Plan, and appointment of a C&M ICS CVD Prevention Lead (James Boyes).

CVD prevention remains a C&M ICS priority and the C&M CVD Prevention strategy was recently published. The plan focuses on the detection and management of atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (‘ABC’), and on reducing associated inequalities. It addresses the four nationally identified priority areas;

  • Monitoring and targeting unwarranted variation
  • Supporting system leadership
  • Supporting a system-wide approach
  • Public awareness-raising

The Champs Public Health Collaborative is providing strategic public health input into the system-wide implementation of the sub-regional CVD Prevention strategy. It supports C&M public health teams to be a part of C&M, Northwest and national CVD prevention opportunities and to strengthen local links between CVD prevention work and a range of upstream C&M prevention and inequalities programmes and workstreams. 

Happy Hearts
The Happy Hearts targeted social media campaign continues to run from Liverpool Heart and Chest Facebook account, and a range of Happy Hearts resources (e.g. guidelines, z cards, leaflets, posters) are also available across the sub-region to support awareness raising activities. An adapted blood pressure message ran in the build up to the Eurovision song contest.

A Cheshire & Merseyside ‘Happy Hearts’ website with CVD prevention resources for both professionals and members of the public is available to visit here, and is currently in the process of being reviewed and updated by the ICS CVD prevention group, with a new look website anticipated in the autumn.

Know Your Numbers Campaign
C&M public health teams and partners proactively support Blood Pressure UK’s annual BP awareness-raising campaign every September

NHS Health Checks
A C&M community of practice has been established to support innovative approaches to increasing NHS Health Check uptake in target groups to reduce inequalities (such has in areas with high levels of deprivation, certain ethnic minorities, working age males and patients with severe mental illness (SMI)). The group also supports NHS Health Check restart and quality. Impacts, learning and recommendations from the targeted pilots will be shared spring/summer 2023 to support wider adoption of successful approaches.

8 C&M public health teams hosted funded Wellpoint kiosks from September 2022 to the end of March 2023; touchscreen self-service health kiosks that can be located in a wide range of community settings (such as leisure settings, workplaces, retail settings) and measure blood pressure, weight, BMI and calculate QRISK. Outcomes and impacts of the kiosks are being evaluated and findings will be shared this spring/summer.

This work builds on earlier, pre-COVID-19 work on high blood pressure. ‘Saving lives: Reducing the pressure’ was the C&M five-year cross-sector strategy (2016) to tackle high blood pressure.

2016 strategy
Saving lives: Reducing the 2019 annual report here.


Working Groups

Cheshire & Merseyside CVD prevention groups align to and reflect national, ICS and Place structures. The Cheshire & Merseyside CVD Prevention Group is a sub-group of the ICS Cardiac Board. This group oversees the strategic planning and system wide implementation and coordination of CVD prevention workstreams across Cheshire & Merseyside. Multidisciplinary group membership includes health (primary and secondary care, Cardiac Strategic Clinical Network), public health, voluntary sector, Place and academic science organisations and networks.

DPH Lead

The Director of Public Health lead for high blood pressure is Dr Sarah McNulty

More information


Cheshire & Merseyside has a dedicated website for Cardiovascular Disease prevention. The website is designed for use
by both professionals and members of the public.



James Boyes is the Cheshire & Merseyside ICS CVD Prevention lead  James.boyes@nhs.net