Published on: 11 March 2024

Local NHS lead for stroke services runs London marathon and encourages over 40s to have a free blood pressure check

Jane Gordijn, a local stroke services lead for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire is playing her part in keeping her blood pressure low and raising awareness of cardiovascular disease by running the London marathon in April and wants to encourage all over 40s to get a free blood pressure check from their local community pharmacy. 

High blood pressure can cause a series of health conditions, such as strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications. Most people don’t know they have it- but a simple, pain free check could identify high blood pressure before it becomes a serious problem.  

Jane Gordijn, Stroke Partnership Manager for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire said: “It's important to check your blood pressure and it only takes a few moments to do free at a local pharmacy if you are over 40. Often a change in lifestyle or diet will be enough to bring your blood pressure down if it’s on the high side. If you are suffering from headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath or even regular nosebleed, is could be a sign that your blood pressure is too high. You should seek medical advice if you are showing these signs.” 

Many NHS community pharmacies across Herefordshire and Worcestershire offer free blood pressure checks for anyone aged 40 and over. Pharmacists can also refer to a person’s GP if their blood pressure is higher than normal and can offer advice on how to manage it. Find your local pharmacy offering checks: Find a pharmacy that offers free blood pressure checks - NHS (  

Locally, people can also get free blood pressure checks at the Talk Wellbeing Hubs across Herefordshire and the Your Wellbeing mobile services in Worcestershire. 

Dr Paul Ferenc, Worcestershire GP and Cardiovascular Lead for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said: "We know that high blood pressure is the leading modifiable risk factor for heart and circulatory disease in the UK. Estimates say there are up to 5.4 million adults with high blood pressure but haven't been diagnosed. Many people are not aware that they have raised blood pressure, and sometimes the first sign can be a heart attack or stroke. The only way to find out is to have a blood pressure check. 

“More than 1 in 4 adults in the UK have raised blood pressure, so we are encouraging people to check theirs. It can be done at home, at your GP surgery or at most local pharmacies. It only takes a couple of minutes and is a very easy and painless test to do and could save your life! 

“If your blood pressure is high it can often be improved with lifestyle changes such as physical activity, diet, and cutting out smoking and drinking alcohol. This will help to reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, strokes and vascular dementia.  

“Should you be concerned about your blood pressure or if you have symptoms of high blood pressure such as headaches then of course we would advise contacting your GP surgery.”  

Jane Gordijn added: “Getting your blood pressure tested is easy to do and could save your life. You can either go to your local community pharmacy or measure it yourself. 

“Once you know your blood pressure is too high, the NHS can give you advice on how to start bringing it down.”