Ask Your Pharmacist: Blood pressure checks for over-40s now available at community pharmacies in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire

Free blood pressure checks are just one of the wide range of services being promoted by community pharmacies in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire during Ask Your Pharmacist Week this year (31 October – 7 November).

The NHS service is now offered to over-40s as part of national plans to increase the range of medical services provided by community pharmacies. Previously, they were only available from GP practices.

People who are eligible for the service can receive a free blood pressure check without needing to book an appointment at their pharmacy. The check takes 10-15 minutes and carried out by a pharmacist.

Once patients have completed the check, they may receive an overnight monitor if the pharmacist believes this is clinically appropriate. This will record a wider range of blood pressure readings and is brought back to the pharmacy for review the following day.

Pharmacies are part of the NHS family and the range of clinical services they offer has grown rapidly in recent years.

As well as the more familiar dispensing of prescription medicines, pharmacies also offer advice with long-term conditions, give vaccinations, and provide help and advice on a wide range of ailments and minor conditions – including advising when it is appropriate to see a GP.

Richard Brown, Chief Officer at Avon Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “We are pleased that our community pharmacists can now offer even more services to the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire communities. Pharmacies play an integral part in keeping our communities healthy and well, especially during the winter months.

“Local pharmacies have a wide range of services available and, in most cases, without booking an appointment. By contacting your local pharmacy first, pharmacists can often offer support for many minor illnesses and can refer you to your local GP if needed. We therefore encourage people to consider talking to their local pharmacists first about minor illnesses they may have this winter.”

‘Now at your local pharmacy’ is the theme for this year’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week, raising awareness of the services that are available across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire pharmacies.

During the week, health and care organisations in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are sharing information on the support offered by local pharmacists, using the hashtag #AskYourPharmacist.

From 2023, more services will be made available at community pharmacists including a contraception supply service, referral for minor illness consultations and support for people who are newly prescribed antidepressants.