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Free blood pressure monitors to be given to more than 200,000 people on the NHS

Written by on 3 November 2021

Free blood pressure monitors are to be given to more than 200,000 people in a bid to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The NHS will make 220,000 devices available to people who have been diagnosed with uncontrolled high blood pressure to enable them to carry out checks at home.

More than 65,000 people have already received a monitor, which work similarly to those used in GP practices.

Patients wrap the small machine around their upper arm to measure their blood pressure reading.

They can then send the reading to their GP to review by telephone, email, or through a digital remote monitoring platform.

The rollout is part of the NHS Long Term Plan and is estimated to prevent 2,200 heart attacks and almost 3,300 strokes over the next five years.

One of the plan’s ambitions is to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes, and dementia cases over the next decade.

One patient, 68-year-old David, from Darlington, was left feeling “very anxious” after having a mini-stroke in January, when his blood pressure was very high.

He recently received a machine from his GP surgery, which he said has given him “a sense of relief”.

He said: “After discussion with the GP, I feel I understand my blood pressure better and feel happy I can monitor it at home and send it to the GP without going across town.”

NHS national director for cardiovascular disease prevention, Dr Shahed Ahmad, said the initiative is a “really important step” and will “provide GPs with more data than ever to deliver first-rate care”.

The NHS advises all adults over the age of 40 to have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years, with every NHS pharmacy in England now able to provide the checks.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is given as two figures.

The ideal blood pressure, according to the NHS website, is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.