DIY blood pressure machines piloted in libraries

08 October 2018

Kensington and Chelsea Council has become the first in the country to provide automatic blood pressure machines in its libraries. The devices, which are linked to software on iPads offering bespoke advice on health and lifestyle choices, are designed to encourage more people to reduce their risk of disease.

To celebrate National Libraries Week, which this year is all about wellbeing, visitors to the Kensington Central Library and North Kensington Library can have a free blood pressure check and healthy lifestyle advice.

Blood pressure checks are normally done by GPs, however only half of those eligible in England get the regular checks. As a result, there are an estimated 5.5 million people with undiagnosed high blood pressure.

Cllr David Lindsay, Lead Member for Healthy City Living, said: “In Kensington and Chelsea we’re leading the way in making it easy for residents to check their blood pressure while checking out a book.

“High blood pressure puts people at risk of strokes and heart attacks, but without any obvious symptoms.

“Our new machines will save people visiting their doctor’s surgery and the software on the iPad helps explain what the results mean and gives tailored support on managing their blood pressure.

“We hope that by taking action like this we will collectively help save more lives in our local community.”

Dr Yvonne Doyle, London Regional Director for Public Health England, said: “Kensington and Chelsea is taking important action to prevent needless deaths from strokes and heart attacks. This is about helping people take responsibility for their own health and making sure they act on the information they receive. We want people to be as familiar with their blood pressure numbers as they are with their height or weight.”

The machines have been fitted in Kensington Central and North Kensington Libraries and are ready for residents to use. The borough’s remaining libraries will also have machines installed as part of a two-year pilot, delivered in partnership with Healthy Hearts with support from the Stroke Association.