Scots to get home blood pressure monitoring

Scale-up blood pressure initiative that reduces GP appointments to be expanded across Scotland

Friday 31th May 2019

New technology that enables patients to monitor their blood pressure at home and help deliver more accurate readings is set to be rolled out across the country.

Measuring blood pressure is the third most common reason for attending primary care appointments in Scotland, with 1.2 million appointments every year.

Announcing the extension of the scale-up blood pressure initiative, Jeane Freeman, the Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport, said:

“This technology brings significant benefits to patients. It enables them to have more control over how they manage their condition, and greatly cuts down on the number of appointments they have to attend.

“Another benefit is more accurate readings, because we know that some patients experience anxiety when attending appointments, which can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.

“By investing in improved technology across health and social care, we can improve patients’ experience and outcomes, and free up capacity in the system at the same time.”

Patients are shown how to measure their own blood pressure and text the results to an app called Florence, or Flo. Their GP or practice nurse is then able to monitor the readings and arrange a face-to-face appointment only when necessary.

The system has been trialled successfully at more than 150 practices throughout Scotland, including in Dundee, with more than 10,000 patients benefitting to date.

It will now be extended to other parts of Scotland over the next two years, backed with £1.2m from the Scottish Government.

Julie Chambers, a patient from East Kilbride who has benefitted from the technology, said:

“When I discovered I had high blood pressure, it was concerning. However, the prospect of having to go to a doctor’s surgery or clinic to get it regularly checked was enough to raise my blood pressure even higher! Between work and family I lead a very busy lifestyle.

“Being offered the use of Florence was a brilliant alternative – and I think the hassle free-nature of it, without having to commute and take time out of a busy day, probably gave a truer reflection of my day-to-day readings.”