Photos of Clare Watson, Health Inequalities Lead (left) and Beth Rushton, Senior Clinical Pharmacist (right)
antonia April 24, 2024

Award-winning work of local health team recognised on the national stage

The Nottingham West Primary Care Network (PCN) Pharmacy Cardiology team shared their success story on the national stage at the recent NHS Confederation Primary Care Conference.

The conference, held in London, highlighted opportunities to really show what primary care can do if it is supported and empowered.

Beth Rushton, Senior Clinical Pharmacist and Clare Watson, Health Inequalities Lead, were asked to speak about the PCN’s award winning hypertension service as part of a session entitled Unlocking the potential: tackling local health inequalities through greater collaboration between general practice and community pharmacy. The session included a panel discussion chaired by Professor Bola Adebowale, National Lead for Health Inequalities. 

Clare explained that every three minutes someone, somewhere dies in the UK from a heart attack, stroke or other form of cardiovascular disease yet we know that these catastrophic illnesses are very preventable – not just through changes to lifestyle, but by treating high-risk conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol.  Broxtowe has a population of 114,600 people and is one of the most densely populated boroughs in the East Midlands, with 56% of the population being 65 years old or over and 19% of the population living with limiting long term illness.

The hypertension service is delivered through a pharmacy-led partnership across all 12 Broxtowe GP surgeries and a large number of community pharmacies. Clare said: “The small team has been working with patients who have a raised blood pressure in their medical record but who did not have a formal diagnosis of high blood pressure (known as hypertension). 

“The team offers further assessment through blood pressure monitoring at home or attending a community pharmacy to have a 24hour blood pressure monitoring completed. They then review the results, order any additional tests such as bloods, urine tests and heart monitor, and diagnose hypertension where appropriate. The team continue to care for diagnosed patients, signposting them to support services such as smoking cessation, weight management and social prescribing teams, they also prescribe and change medication as needed until their blood pressure BP is well controlled before handing back the care of the blood pressure to the GP.

“By helping people to better manage their blood pressure, we can reduce their likelihood of a stroke or heart attack.”

Photos of Clare Watson, Health Inequalities Lead (left) and Beth Rushton, Senior Clinical Pharmacist (right)
Clare Watson, Health Inequalities Lead (left) and Beth Rushton, Senior Clinical Pharmacist (right)

In the first twelve months of the service, the Pharmacy Cardiology team:

•           Reviewed more than 3,250 patient records

•           Achieved a 26% hypertension diagnosis rate

•           Freed up 3,103 general practice appointments.

Beth added: “The service not only helps to reduce heart attacks and strokes and the devastating impact these can have, this dedicated and specialist team is also freeing up thousands of general practice appointments so that GPs and other primary care staff can focus on patients who have more complex needs.

“If the programme was adopted nationally, it has the potential to prevent nearly 3,000 cardiac events in the UK over the next 3 years, freeing up almost 2 million GP appointments and saving the NHS £35.5m.”

The team won the 2023 PrescQipp awards ‘Integrated and joint working’ category and was also shortlisted in the National General Practice Awards in the ‘Clinical Improvement: Public Health and Prevention’ category.