The Collaborative, Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership and public health teams across the subregion are getting behind Blood Pressure UK’s annual Know Your Numbers! blood pressure awareness-raising campaign again this September.
The national campaign runs from the 5th to the 11th September 2022, but many local areas promote key messages throughout and beyond September.
This year’s themes focus on home blood pressure monitoring, which has grown considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunistic blood pressure testing in friends, family, colleagues and community settings.
A wide range of resources and support is available to support local partners, including social media support, guidelines, posters, leaflets, z cards, blood pressure kiosks, hands on blood pressure testing by Innovation Agency Heart Heroes, translated and easy-read resources and patient packs to support home blood pressure monitoring.
In Cheshire and Merseyside, pre-COVID-19 pandemic, there were over 416,000 patients on hypertension registers in general practice. In order to achieve the national ambitions of 80% blood pressure detection and control, an additional 69,000 blood pressure diagnoses were needed and a further 41,000 blood pressure patients needed to be treated to target across the subregion. But the challenge is now even greater.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention services, with a reduction in testing, monitoring and treatment of CVD risk conditions.
The second CVDPREVENT annual report shows this impact was seen across all ethnic groups and all levels of deprivation. High blood pressure was the most affected risk condition and is the slowest area to recover.
The impact on blood pressure testing in Cheshire and Merseyside was high relative to other Integrated Care Systems and the percentage of known blood pressure patients recorded as ‘treated to target’ in Cheshire and Merseyside fell from 70.1% (QoF 2019/20) to 44.8% (QoF 2020/21).
Dr Sarah McNulty, Lead Director of Public Health for CVD prevention and high blood pressure, said:
“It has never been more important to know your blood pressure numbers. High blood pressure causes half of all heart attacks and strokes but due to a lack of symptoms, remains under-detected and many known patients are not treated to target.
“Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of early deaths in deprived areas and is the biggest opportunity for the NHS to save lives over the next ten years.
“Finding and treating high blood pressure has been identified as a priority for public health and clinical action by the Faculty of Public Health, the NHS Core20plus5 agenda, and the Royal College of General Practitioners, respectively.
“Supporting the Know Your Numbers! campaign is a fantastic whole-system way to improve blood pressure case finding and control, and an opportunity to reach target populations to reduce inequalities, such as working age males and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.”