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Healthy Living Optical Practices (HLOP)

Nottinghamshire LOC and the HLOP team are pleased to let you know more about the proof of concept pilot for screening for hypertension and atrial fibrillation (AF). After undertaking a literature search we have found that there is little reported experience of optical practices providing this type of service. Our plans have received a great deal of interest from Public Health England, local Public Health departments and Professor Jamie Waterall, the National Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.

Our proposal is for optical practices to offer patients within specific inclusion criteria a combined hypertension and AF screen. This can be effectively delivered by optical assistants. Patients will then be provided with simple very brief interventions to promote lifestyle changes that will improve their cardiovascular health or, if AF or hypertension is identified, referred to their general practitioner. It has been suggested that this can be achieved operationally by identifying patients during testing by the optometrist who can provide the very brief intervention and either conduct the screening themselves or refer them to an optical assistant. 

The patients the service will screen will be those over the age of 40 who have are not been diagnosed with hypertension or AF and have not had their blood pressure monitored in the past six months. This is a key target group and we believe will not represent to great an impact on the operation of practices. David Cartwright has allocated funding to pay £5 per screening for the first 500 patients screened as part of the pilot. The protocol for the pilot is attached. Please click here to view the protocol.

We will provide a record sheet that should be used with patients and retained in the practice. The anonymised clinical data will be transferred to an online form and this will be used to evaluate the service. We also want you to obtain the patients view of acceptability of the service. We hope this data can be used to influence local public health departments to commission this type of service in the future.

This is a development of our HLOP project in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and we are inviting our HLOP practices to take part in the service initially but will also invite a small number of other interested practices to be involved and are asking for expressions of interest from optical practices. We won’t we able to include all practices who express and interest but hope to be able to include them when we move to the next stage. We will provide a training workshop for the service on the evening of Tuesday 3rd September which will cover the technique of accurately using the monitors, the impact of lifestyle on blood pressure and very brief interventions and the protocol for the pilot. The training is being sponsored by Omron, a leading provider of blood pressure monitors. Monitors will be provided for you to use during the trial. The training will be suitable for optometrists and optical assistants

We think this is a great opportunity to demonstrate the public health impact that optical practices can have. If you would like to be involved please email me at liam@metaphordevelopment.co.uk.