More patients to go with the Flo with blood pressure app

The Scottish Government is spending more than £1 million expanding a scheme that allows patients to monitor their blood pressure at home to all of Scotland.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the Scale-Up initiative, which has been trialled at more than 150 GP practices, was being rolled out.

Under the initiative, patients are shown how to measure their blood pressure at home, before then texting in the results to an app called Florence, or Flo, for short.

This allows their GP or practice nurse to monitor the readings, so that patients only have to attend at the doctors’ surgery when necessary.

More than 10,000 patients have already benefited, with the government now spending £1.2 million rolling out the scheme over the next two years.

Blood pressure checks are the third most common reason for someone to attend at a clinic, with 1.2 million appointments made every year for this.

Ms Freeman said: “This technology brings significant benefits to patients. It enables them to have more control over how they manage their condition, and greatly cuts down on the number of appointments they have to attend.

“Another benefit is more accurate readings, because we know that some patients experience anxiety when attending appointments, which can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.

“By investing in improved technology across health and social care, we can improve patients’ experience and outcomes, and free up capacity in the system at the same time.”

Julie Chambers, from East Kilbride, is one of the thousands of patients who have taken part in the trial.

She said: “When I discovered I had high blood pressure, it was concerning. However, the prospect of having to go to a doctors’ surgery or clinic to get it regularly checked was enough to raise my blood pressure even higher! Between work and family I lead a very busy lifestyle.

“Being offered the use of Florence was a brilliant alternative – and I think the hassle-free nature of it, without having to commute and take time out of a busy day, probably gave a truer reflection of my day-to-day readings.”