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Blood pressure referrals could 'bankrupt NHS'

17th June 2011

The NHS drug and treatment regulatory body is set to approve a recommendation for GPs to diagnose all new patients with hypertension using ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABPM).

bloodpressure

However, there are claims that the move from the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will result in an increase in referrals could bankrupt the NHS.

A version of the final guidance, published on the NICE website, retains the recommendation that GPs should offer ABPM for any patient with a clinic blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher.

This follows draft guidance published in February with the final version due to be published in August.

Primary care and secondary care organisations have raised concerns about the move.

Dr Kathryn Griffith is a GPSI in cardiology in York and president of the Primary Care cardiovascular Society.

She said: “NICE has to recommend what has the best evidence base and that is ambulatory monitoring - but that will be an aspiration and we don’t have to and can’t adopt it right away.

“The plan is for it to be done as a primary care diagnosis - we won’t be referring to secondary care or anywhere else because we can’t afford to. Hypertension is so common that if we referred at a cost of £70-80 per patient it would bankrupt the NHS.”

The new ruling updates guidance from 2006 and also takes into account research published in The Lancet, which showed patients with only occasional high blood pressure readings are still at increased risk of stroke and should be considered for treatment.

 

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Comments

David Gregory

Saturday 18th June 2011 @ 15:53

For those costs the NHS could consider providing home monitors that would allow people to keep ongoing records of their bp and see any improvements should they choose to adopt lifestyle and diet changes to help lower their readings.


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Article Information

Title: Blood pressure referrals could 'bankrupt NHS'
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 18840
Date Added: 17th Jun 2011

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