Firefighters, librarians and pharmacy staff join forces to save lives with blood pressure tests

Firefighters, librarians and pharmacy staff join forces to save lives with blood pressure tests

A ground-breaking approach to finding people at risk of serious illness due to undetected high blood pressure has been launched in Stevenage, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt and Broxbourne, Watford and the Three Rivers district council area.

Funded by an £88,000 British Heart Foundation grant, it is hoped that the community blood pressure project will help to test thousands of people who are unlikely to go to their GP surgery for a check-up.

Almost 30% of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but it is estimated that a further 6.8m people are living with the condition without realising.  Firefighters, librarians, pharmacy staff, council staff and public health workers have been given specialist training and will be taking part in events across the area, offering free checks to everyone who is eligible.

Dr Rachel Joyce, Clinical and Professional Director of Hertfordshire and West Essex STP, said: “People often don’t know they have high blood pressure until it’s too late as there are no symptoms.  This project will help us to identify people who are at risk before they suffer from a stroke or heart attack.

“The more that we can do to raise awareness of the risks associated with high blood pressure, the more chance we have of helping people to enjoy a healthier future.”

Everyone who has a free check will be given advice that is relevant to their blood pressure results, including recommended next steps if there is any cause for concern.

You can get your blood pressure checked for free at certain pharmacies, the Healthy Hub in Stevenage and community events across Hertfordshire and west Essex.  Find out where at



  1. Only adults who have not had a blood pressure check in the last year and have not previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure will be eligible to count as part of the 5000 tests that are aimed to be delivered across each year of the two year project.
  2. The project will expand on existing services and is a collaboration between Hertfordshire and Essex Local Pharmaceutical Committees, Healthy Hub Stevenage, Hertfordshire County Council’s Health Improvement Service, Hertfordshire and Essex Fire and Rescue Services. Led by East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, it is part of a collaborative project with Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.  
  3. Across England, NHS and social care organisations have been encouraged to work together more closely to deliver more effective, joined-up and affordable services.  The country has been divided into ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ or ‘STP’ areas by the national organisation, NHS England.  Hertfordshire and west Essex, is one of these STP areas.
  4. To find out more about the Hertfordshire and West Essex STP, see