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Pharmacies to offer free heart check ups in bid to prevent tens of thousands of strokes and heart attacks

Free hearts checks will soon be available at high street pharmacies. Credit: PA

Pharmacies are to offer free heart checks in a bid to prevent tens of thousands of strokes and heart attacks.

From next month, selected chemists in England, will begin rolling out the "rapid detection service", which will include cholesterol and blood pressure checks, along with testing to search for irregular heartbeats.

If successful, the NHS programme will be broadened to every pharmacy in England by 2022.

England's most senior doctor said the plan is "a game changer", before adding that it will help pharmacies prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks and strokes within a decade.

Some chemists across England will be offering free heart checks from next month. Credit: PA

"Heart disease and strokes dramatically cut short lives, and leave thousands of people disabled every year, so rapid detection of killer conditions through high street heart checks will be a game-changer," said NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis.

150,000
Heart attacks and strokes could be prevented within a decade under the new initiative

"Reducing lifestyle risks and treating high-risk conditions such as smoking, obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity are key to preventing serious ill-health, and the NHS Long Term Plan will help people take positive action for their own well-being, while investing in life-changing services, close to home, when ill-health hits."

The plan, which will also aid GPs in work on early detection of heart disease, is part of a £4.5 billion package of extra investment in primary and community care.