21 May 2024

Dr James Boyes

Health Innovation North West Coast has backed an evaluation into a programme to tackle high blood pressure (BP).

Increasing the detection and management of high blood pressure is a national and regional priority, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the single largest area where the NHS can save lives in the next 10 years.

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside commissioned Advancing Quality Alliance – Aqua – to report on their blood pressure optimisation programme, which has explored new ways of delivering care, including digital and remote monitoring.

The Health Innovation North West Coast team supported the evaluation in several ways, including liaising between Aqua and NHS Cheshire and Merseyside and other stakeholders.

The team also briefed Aqua on details of the BP programme and helped with access to surgeries to interview clinicians and collect patients’ feedback. They also helped with access to data, as well as coordinating the project to ensure it remained on track.

Dr James Boyes, North West Coast Clinical Network Programme Manager said: “The prevention, early detection and optimisation of high BP is a priority for Cheshire and Merseyside and the region, so the report gives vital insights into how we are progressing.

“The Health Innovation North West Coast team played a vital role in coordinating the evaluation and making sure Aqua had access to everything they needed to deliver the report.

“Without the Health Innovation North West Coast team it would not have been as insightful.”

The report concluded that control of BP among Cheshire and Merseyside GP surgeries declined markedly during the pandemic but is now improving, in line with national trends.

Patients reported that the programme had raised awareness of the risks of high BP and that using monitors at home was easy and convenient and saved time in visiting GP surgeries.

But the report also found there were too few monitors or insufficient access to them to meet demand and have an impact. Monitors were often too expensive for patients on low incomes, and surgeries reported challenges in delivering the programme in disadvantaged communities.

Other findings of the report include:

  • There was little evidence that sufficient BP monitors had been distributed at the levels intended by the programme
  • The evaluation was hampered because the programme was not single and cohesive but a set of discrete projects
  • While levels of BP monitoring improved, patterns were similar to those elsewhere post-Covid
  • There was little evidence of established best practice which would make recruiting new patients to the programme more successful

You can read the full report here.


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