College welcomes blood pressure tests

The College appears in a front-page story in The Times today, reacting to the announcement that every NHS pharmacy in England will be able to provide blood pressure checks to people aged 40 and over from October. The College welcomes the move - but we reiterate our calls for urgent action to recruit and retain thousands more GPs to ease the pressures on general practice and give GPs more time to care for patients with complex needs.

You can read our statement in full here:

RCGP Chair Professor Martin Marshall said: “General practice is under enormous pressure, so it’s welcome news that patients will be encouraged to get some health services from their local pharmacies. Having their blood pressure and other health checks at pharmacies should be convenient and encouraging for patients and has the potential to save thousands of lives a year.

"However, while pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals, they are not substitutes for GPs. Many of the patients referred to general practice by pharmacies will have complex needs and we must ensure that we have enough GPs with enough time and appropriate support to provide the expert care they need.

“Whilst initiatives like this are welcome, we urgently need progress on the 2019 Conservative manifesto target of 6000 more full time equivalent (FTE) GPs, along with the recruitment and integration of at least 26,000 other members of staff into the general practice workforce by 2024.

“We also need a system-wide programme to eradicate bureaucratic burdens and reduce unnecessary workload to encourage existing GPs to remain working in general practice and prevent GPs themselves burning out so that they can continue to deliver high quality care to their patients.”

Further information

(For media only)

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.