Hypertension Case-Finding Service reminder (#1): Maximising the use of my team

This is the first of a series of articles to help pharmacy owners and their teams to maximise the potential of the Hypertension Case-finding Service (HCFS).

The re-launch of the service, including the ability to use the wider pharmacy team to provide parts of the service, allows pharmacy owners to review how they provide the service and this series of articles will focus on a range of topics to support you in doing that.

What has changed?

Following the re-launch of the service and previous changes in VAT legislation, the service can now be provided by any suitably trained and competent pharmacy staff.

The term “pharmacy staff” is defined as pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other non-registered members of the pharmacy team. The responsible pharmacist must ensure that delegated tasks are being undertaken safely by competent pharmacy staff.

If providing the service, what training do they require?

To assist with training pharmacy staff to provide the service, a pharmacy staff training checklist is available on the Hypertension Case-Finding Service page. The checklist includes actions and activities that pharmacy staff can undertake to develop their confidence and competence to successfully provide the service.

How else can my pharmacy team support the service?

  • Promotion and recruitment: The whole pharmacy team can be involved in promoting this service and can assist with identifying and recruiting patients to the service. To assist with this a Briefing for pharmacy teams on the service is available on the Hypertension Case-Finding Service page. The briefing includes tips on how to engage with patients about the service.

Consider how NHS resources, such as the recent pharmacy campaign pack produced to complement the recent TV, social media, public relations and billboard campaign encouraging those aged 40 years and over, to get a free blood pressure check could be used. If you haven’t yet ordered a pack, there is still time to request one.

  • Identify suitable patients while dispensing: While dispensing prescriptions, dispensing staff can identify patients who meet the age criteria and have no dispensing history that may indicate a previous diagnosis of hypertension. These patients can then be flagged so that pharmacy staff can talk to them about the service when their prescription is handed out.

  • Healthy Lifestyle Advice: One of the aims of the service is to provide another opportunity to promote healthy behaviours to patients. Any appropriately trained member of the pharmacy team can support with this in line with the principle of making every contact count. Patients having their blood pressure measured should be encouraged to discuss their lifestyle/behaviours and appropriate lifestyle advice should be provided where applicable.

  • Harness their relationships in the community: Often, community pharmacy staff are recruited from and therefore, reflect the diversity of the local populations they serve. Where staff have knowledge of the local area, links to local faith leaders, local community groups or support structures, then these can assist in marketing the service within local communities. Provision of public health campaigns that support signposting to the service, or that can be enhanced by local provision of the service, can be powerful tools to support tackling local healthcare inequalities.

Download the Hypertension Case-Finding Service staff training checklist (April 2024)

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