May 22, 2024

Wakefield District introduces network of Blood Pressure Champions to tackle hypertension

Councillor Maureen Cummings having her blood pressure checked at an event.
Cllr Maureen Cummings with people are being trained to do blood pressure checks. St George’s Community Centre, Broadway, Lupset photograph taken by John Clifton Photography Ltd

A pilot scheme has been launched in Wakefield to set up a network of Blood Pressure Wellbeing Champions.

They could help save lives by promoting awareness around keeping the heart healthy to prevent ill-health in their community.

Volunteers have been learning how to take blood pressure at St George’s Community Centre, Lupset, so they can offer the checks to people who visit and use their services across the Wakefield district.

The initiative, launched by Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (which ties in with World Hypertension Day, May 17 ) aims to help identify people with high blood pressure, also known as hyper-tension. The condition often has no symptoms but puts people at increased risk of heart disease, strokes and premature death.

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty and Health, said:

“This is a brilliant initiative that involves people in our communities learning skills that will help others.

“The volunteers will let people know their blood pressure readings and will sign-post them to their GP or local community pharmacy for further help, advice and a diagnosis.”

The Wakefield Public Health team have looked at the local data and believe that there are lots of people who are unaware of their blood pressure and who could benefit from having it checked.

Jo Webster, Wakefield District Health & Care Partnership Accountable Officer, said:

“Early detection of risk factors is crucial to helping prevent heart disease and our network of Blood Pressure Wellbeing Champions will be a huge support in enabling us to do this.

“They will complement our ‘Healthy Hearts Community Hubs’ where we are also providing blood pressure checks and personalised support away from a formal medical setting.

“As a district, cardiovascular disease prevention is a key priority to improve the health outcomes for all our residents and through community support we can improve quality of life, reduce hospital readmissions and save lives.”

The Blood Pressure Wellness Champions project gives volunteers from community organisations the skills, knowledge, and confidence to do blood pressure checks with people who use their services and groups.

The initiative aligns with national campaigns to promote blood pressure checks and utilises the NHS Pharmacy Blood Pressure checking service to provide further onward support.

The project has been funded partly via funding through the West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and Wakefield Council and builds on another Healthy Hearts Community Hub initiative .

For information visit the NHS Blood Pressure Checking website.

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