Pilot project trialling health checks in the community increase detection of conditions linked to high blood pressure

New figures show that the NHS in the North East and North Cumbria is the best in the country for controlling blood pressure, despite challenges that come from long-standing inequalities and poor health.

To mark Know Your Numbers Week* (4th-10th September), the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) is raising awareness of innovative projects that are contributing to this by delivering health checks in community settings.

This includes a pilot project led by North Tyneside Council and supported by the AHSN NENC, which aims to increase the detection of conditions linked to high blood pressure, such as hypertension and Atrial Fibrillation (AF).

In North Tyneside, it is estimated that 28.2% of the population have hypertension and 2.7% have AF. Within these percentages, 23,000 people are estimated to have undiagnosed hypertension and 1,200 undiagnosed AF. The pilot aimed to identify more people with these conditions by making health checks more accessible. Health checks were delivered in community locations where an appointment was not needed.

Karen Verrill, Programme Manager at the AHSN NENC, said:Cardiovascular Disease accounts for over a quarter of all deaths in the UK and is a major driver of health inequalities. Risk factors include high blood pressure (hypertension) and having an irregular heart rhythm (Atrial Fibrillation) which often go undiagnosed.

“AHSN NENC is delighted to support North Tyneside Council with their project to test different approaches to identifying hypertension and AF in community settings.  In addition to gaining a valuable insight into the benefits and potential challenges to undertaking testing in the community, the project has also raised awareness of CVD with the public and promoted healthy lifestyle behaviours.  This learning will be used to inform future activities regarding case finding in the community both within the region and across the country.“

Following the pilot, 100% of participants said they would be happy to receive a health check again in the future and at least 49 individuals were advised to seek further follow-up from their GP.

Read the full case study here: https://innovationlibrarynenc.org.uk/result/wallsend-community-cvd-prevention-pilot/

To find out where the next How’s Your Heart health check will be in North Tyneside, visit: https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1681/cardiovascular-health

*Know Your Numbers Week is a campaign dedicated to raising awareness of the risks of high blood pressure (hypertension) and encouraging all UK adults to get a blood pressure check.