Merseyside Fire and Rescue
Service introduces blood pressure checks as part of 'Safe and Well'
THE British Heart Foundation (BHF) has
funded Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) to offer blood pressure (BP)
checks, advice and signposting as part of the 'Safe and Well' visits
carried out within the community, from 15 January 2018.
The Safe and Well programme builds on the fire service's established Home Fire
Safety Check initiative and supports local health needs by delivering recognized
health interventions with specially trained fire service advocates.
Undertaken in conjunction with the NHS, fire service staff can provide advice on
how to avoid a trip or fall in the home, the benefits of quitting smoking or
reducing their alcohol consumption and awareness of the National bowel cancer
The inclusion of free Blood Pressure checks into the scheme is a result of a
partnership with Champs Public Health Collaborative following their successful
bid for a BHF grant to support a community based project aimed at preventing,
detecting and managing cases of high blood pressure across Cheshire and
The initial 3 month pilot, which launches, on Monday, 15 January 2018, will see the
'Safe and Well' visits include BP measurement, advice and signposting. The BHF
funding has also enabled the relevant MFRS teams to be equipped with standards
compliant BP machines, and to receive appropriate training.
BP checks will be offered to residents over 65 and other at risk groups
determined by MFRS.
It is estimated that there are 163,000 people in Merseyside with undiagnosed
high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent and
potentially deadly condition that significantly increases a person's chance of a
heart attack or stroke. This initiative will increase opportunities for blood
pressure testing and monitoring outside of GP practices as many people are
unaware that they have high blood pressure.
Dr Muna Abdel Aziz, Director of Public Health (DPH) for Warrington, and the
Cheshire and Merseyside DPH Lead for Blood Pressure said:- "We are
delighted to have our Fire and Rescue colleagues on board to include blood
pressure checks in the Safe and Well Checks. As a trusted and respected public
service organisation, the Fire and Rescue service will help us reach people who
might otherwise have slipped the net. Our collaborative work on blood pressure
in Cheshire and Merseyside is exemplary, as a whole system partnership; and the
addition of these services with Merseyside Fire and Rescue will enhance our
achievements and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities."
Phil Byrne Station Manager for Community Risk Management with Merseyside Fire
and Rescue Service said:- "It is fantastic that we are now able to include
the offer of a blood pressure check as part of our Safe and Well visits. Fire
Rescue staff have the unique ability to access homes and engage with vulnerable
members of the community that other agencies may not. This places us in a strong
position to support our mission of making our communities safer and stronger, at
the same time as supporting the wider health needs of residents.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service advocates have been specially trained to
deliver the checks and working with our health partners we are able to refer
those with high blood pressure to receive the correct help and support. In
addition we will be providing advice on how to maintain a healthy Blood
Pressure. The Safe and Well programme aims to engage with 10,000 homes in the
Jenny Hargrave, Director of Innovation and Health Wellbeing at the British Heart
Foundation, said:- "High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors
for cardiovascular disease. With 16 million people diagnosed in the UK, and many
more undiagnosed, there is an urgent need to address this growing epidemic
through more research, better detection and treatment. It is essential that we
have more opportunities to test for high blood pressure in alternative places to
GP surgeries, especially in areas where people are more likely to be at risk. We
are pleased to support this collaboration and are hopeful the project will allow
more people to be detected and monitored, which will undoubtedly save lives."
For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call:- 0800
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside
residents aged 65 or over.