Pharmacy services

Blood pressure checks

Free NHS hypertension screening service to all adults over 40 in England
Get the health insights you need

An estimated 5.5 million people in England are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension). If left untreated, hypertension can lead to serious heart and circulatory diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

Hypertension rarely has any noticeable symptoms. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.

a woman sitting on a sofa and talking on the phone

How to get your blood pressure tested

Find your nearest pharmacy

Head to your local Well pharmacy branch. Don’t worry about making an appointment – just ask a member of our pharmacy team about the service.

Get your blood pressure checked

One of our colleagues will check your blood pressure in a private consultation room. They may ask you a few questions about your health and lifestyle.

Get advice based on your results

Once you get your results, our team can provide tailored advice to help support you. They may explain how you can monitor your blood pressure at home using a blood pressure monitor or suggest lifestyle changes.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure (or hypertension) is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher over a number of weeks, even when you are resting.

Your blood pressure usually goes up and down depending on what you are doing. If your blood pressure stays too high, for too long, then it can cause damage to your body.

People with high blood pressure that is not controlled with medication are at an increased risk of having a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, heart disease and kidney failure due to the extra strain on the body’s organs.

What is low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure (or hypotension) is when your blood pressure is 90/60 mmHg or less when you are resting. If you have low blood pressure, you may experience dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, nausea and general weakness. People who are older and have low blood pressure are at higher risk of injuring themselves by falling.

When should I have my blood pressure checked?

The NHS recommends that healthy adults who are over 40 should have a blood pressure check every 5 years. People who are at increased risk of high blood pressure should have checks once a year.

It is usual to need to have several checks, and over several weeks if your blood pressure appears initially high. Some people will use a monitor that is carried around with them to see how the blood pressure changes throughout the day. This is called 24-hour ambulatory monitoring.

How is blood pressure measured?

A blood pressure reading is measured using two different readings:

  • Systolic pressure: the pressure on your arteries when your heart pumps out blood.
  • Diastolic pressure:the pressure on your arteries when your heart is relaxed between contractions.

You’ll only know if you have high blood pressure if you get it tested. You can do this at home using a blood pressure monitor or by visiting your GP or pharmacist. They will be able to test your blood pressure and give you advice on how to manage your symptoms.

What is the NHS hypertension service?

Our community pharmacies in England are now offering a free NHS hypertension screening service to all adults over 40. If you already have high or low blood pressure, you may need more regular screening.

A member of our pharmacy team will measure your blood pressure in a private consultation room. If the reading is high, they may offer you an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) device to wear. This can automatically measure your blood pressure at regular intervals over a 24-hour period, allowing for a more detailed view of your blood pressure.

You do not need to make an appointment for this service, simply visit your nearest Well pharmacy and speak to one of our colleagues.

If you are diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, our team will be able to discuss whether there are any lifestyle or diet changes that could help your blood pressure or overall heart risk.

I’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension, what support can I get?

This service is for people who have not previously been diagnosed with hypertension. If you have hypertension and would like some information, please speak to a pharmacist or read our advice on managing high blood pressure.

If your doctor has prescribed medication, then your pharmacist can help you be confident in using your medication safely and effectively and support you with understanding your heart health choices.

  1. CVD prevention: detecting and treating hypertension. Accessed October 6, 2021.
  2. High blood pressure. Accessed October 8, 2021.
  3. High blood pressure (hypertension). Published October 23, 2017. Accessed December 1, 2020.