Blood pressure tests to be offered at hair salons, pubs and train stations

Train stations and hair salons will offer blood pressure tests to boost the number of people getting checked.

A £1.5 million scheme by charity the British Heart Foundation (BHF) will see pop-up testing centres brought to communities across the country.

It is hoped the approach will reach thousands of people who are less likely to go to their GP for a blood pressure check.

An estimated seven million people are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, meaning they are at risk of heart attack or stroke, the BHF said.

Jacob West, director of healthcare innovation at BHF, said: “We urgently need to find the millions of people across the UK living with undiagnosed high blood pressure.

“This means learning from countries like Canada, where knowing your blood pressure has become as common as knowing your weight or Pin code.

“This has led to vast improvements in diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure in Canada, where widespread access to community-based testing models is now the rule rather than the exception.

“Now it’s our turn to take high blood pressure seriously, and find the missing seven million.”

The BHF is funding 15 projects nationwide during the next two years, with each expected to test the blood pressure of 5,000 people per year.

The outreach programmes, some of which are already running, will offer testing in community locations including pubs, betting shops, barbers and job centres.

Professor Jamie Waterall, national lead for cardiovascular disease prevention at Public Health England, said: “High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes, but it is largely preventable and easily treated.

“Improving access to checks will help more people find out whether they have high blood pressure and what they can do to lower it.”

Leeds, Greenwich, Lambeth and Southwark are among the areas which will benefit from the programme.