NHS priorities

Whether it’s to prepare for the next Quality Payments Scheme deadline, or to increase your confidence in helping people with a learning disability, this section provides topic-specific pages that link to current NHS priorities. This section will support you in keeping your knowledge and skills up to date in order to provide high-quality pharmacy services and be service-ready.

Clinical pharmacy

Our clinical portfolio is expanding on a frequent basis, helping you to advance your knowledge and skills and deliver medicines optimisation in practice for all sectors of pharmacy. From two new focal points a year to our small group learning for hospital pharmacists – Optimise – this section focuses on clinical pharmacy, diseases and therapeutics.

Public health

The public health agenda is embedded in pharmacy, yet topics such as emergency contraception or stop smoking support are as prevalent as ever. As well as our public health workshops, use this section to access a wide range of resources to assure and maintain your competence, all underpinned by the Declaration of Competence system.

Hypertension case-finding service

Hypertension is the biggest risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a major risk factor for atrial fibrillation. It is estimated that around five million people are living with undiagnosed hypertension in the UK.1 The NHS Long Term Plan has identified cardiovascular disease as a major cause of premature death and a priority area for improvement.2 This Advanced service has two stages. Stage one involves pharmacists identifying people at risk of hypertension and offering them blood pressure monitoring. In the second stage, where clinically indicated, pharmacists offer 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). The blood pressure test results will then be shared with the patient’s GP to inform a potential diagnosis of hypertension. This service also supports the work that general practices and wider Primary Care Network (PCN) teams will be undertaking on CVD prevention and management, under forthcoming changes to the PCN Directed Enhanced Service.

On this page, we outline the training requirements for this service, as described in the service specification, and signpost to a selection of further learning resources that you can use to support your delivery of this service. To learn more about the service, we recommend that you watch the following service overview video. This video offers an introduction to this service and how it supports service user care. It covers approaching the service user, measuring blood pressure in the consultation room and the follow-up discussion.

This video is currently being updated and will be available soon.

Further supporting information about the delivery of this service can be found on Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) website.

PSNC Hypertension case-finding service page

There are several training requirements that pharmacists providing the service must meet. These can be found under Training requirements below.


Training requirements

NICE guideline Hypertension in adults: diagnosis and management [NG136]

Pharmacists providing the service must be familiar with the following NICE guideline.

NICE guideline Hypertension in adults: diagnosis and management [NG136]

This guideline provides information on the importance of managing hypertension under the Context section. The evidence-based Recommendations contained in this guidance can support you to work with those who use this service to make evidence-informed decisions.

Service specification

Pharmacists providing the service must have read and understood the operational processes to provide the service, as described in this service specification.

Service specification

Blood pressure monitoring equipment training

When purchasing the necessary equipment for this service, the pharmacy must use equipment that is validated by the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS), as recommended by NICE. Please note that the BIHS are unable to answer contractor questions about stock availability and other questions relating to equipment, such as price. Pharmacists must complete training (e-learning or face-to-face) on how to use the blood pressure monitoring equipment which should be provided by their equipment manufacturer.


Depending on your existing level of knowledge and experience, you may wish to undertake further learning. To help you to direct your learning, we have developed a self-assessment framework – completing this framework is not a requirement for this service, however it can be used as a tool to help you direct your own learning. Once you have completed the self-assessment, you can visit the topic area(s) relevant to your personal learning needs. These topic areas correspond with the menu items below

  • Understanding hypertension and measuring blood pressure
  • Understanding vascular risk
  • Behaviour change interventions
Self-assessment framework

Understanding hypertension and measuring blood pressure

In this section we provide resources to support you in learning more about:

  • hypertension – what it is, why it is important to manage and how it is managed
  • measuring blood pressure
  • acting on blood pressure readings.

Hypertension – what it is, why it is important to manage and how it is managed

There are several resources that can support you in learning more about hypertension.

CPPE Hypertension fact sheet
The CPPE Hypertension fact sheet is part of a portfolio of Clinical fact sheets. It has been developed to refresh your knowledge of hypertension and provide you with links to further resources. You will find the following within this hypertension fact sheet:

  • definition
  • prevalence and incidence
  • signs and symptoms
  • causes/risk factors
  • pathophysiology (mechanism of disease)
  • prognosis and complications
  • diagnosis/detection
  • non-pharmacological treatment
  • pharmacological treatment
  • patient support and further resources.

As with all our materials, topic experts have reviewed this fact sheet. You can download this fact sheet for your reference. You can also access it via the link above or the directory at any time that you need to.

CPPE New medicine service – antihypertensives distance learning
The CPPE New medicine service – antihypertensives distance learning programme was originally developed to support those delivering the New medicine service (NMS). It contains background learning on hypertension and the treatments for hypertension that will help to refresh your knowledge of this condition. You can find this information from page 12 onwards.

CPPE Hypertension gateway page
The CPPE Hypertension gateway page contains further learning resources to help you develop and refresh your understanding of how to support those with this clinical condition.

Measuring blood pressure

Most pharmacies will have their own standard operating procedure for the measurement of blood pressure. There are several resources that you can use to develop your competence to measure blood pressure.

CPPE blood pressure monitoring video
This is a CPPE video to support you to measure blood pressure using an automated device.

British and Irish Hypertension Society resources
The British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS) offers a variety of different poster and video resources, including: How to measure blood pressure and Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

Please note that the BIHS are unable to answer contractor questions about stock availability and other questions relating to equipment, such as price.

Understanding vascular risk

In this section, we provide resources to support you in learning more about the risks associated with hypertension and other associated conditions. This includes:

  • Cardiovascular risk – risk factors for developing vascular disease and risk assessment tools
  • Atrial fibrillation

Cardiovascular risk – risk factors for developing vascular disease and risk assessment tools

CPPE Vascular risk and the NHS health check programme e-learning
The CPPE Vascular risk and the NHS health check programme was originally developed to support those delivering NHS health checks. It contains information on vascular risk, risk assessment tools and modifiable risk factors, such as hypertension.

CPPE Coronary heart disease fact sheet
The CPPE Coronary heart disease fact sheet is part of a portfolio of clinical fact sheets. It has been developed to refresh your knowledge of coronary heart disease and provide you with links to further resources. You will find the following in this coronary heart disease fact sheet:

  • definition
  • prevalence and incidence
  • signs and symptoms
  • causes/risk factors
  • pathophysiology (mechanism of disease)
  • prognosis and complications
  • diagnosis/detection
  • non-pharmacological treatment
  • pharmacological treatment
  • patient support and further resources.

As with all our materials, topic experts have reviewed this fact sheet. You can download this fact sheet for your reference. You can also access it via the link above or the directory at any time that you need to.

Northern Ireland Centre for Pharmacy Learning and Development (NICPLD) cardiovascular disease programmes
The NICPLD offers a series of programmes on cardiovascular disease which can be accessed via the CPPE website. These programmes cover the hypertension as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and management of hypertension as a way to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Atrial fibrillation

Hypertension is a major risk factor for the development of atrial fibrillation. As part of delivering this service there is also the potential that you will identify an irregular pulse, a potential symptom of atrial fibrillation.

CPPE Atrial fibrillation detection in community pharmacy: what you need to become service ready e-learning
The CPPE Atrial fibrillation detection in community pharmacy: what you need to become service ready was originally developed to support those who are looking to deliver an atrial fibrillation service. Section 1 – What is atrial fibrillation and why is early detection and effective management important? contains information which will help you to refresh your understanding of this condition.

CPPE Atrial fibrillation fact sheet
The CPPE Atrial fibrillation fact sheet is part of a portfolio of Clinical fact sheets. It has been developed to refresh your knowledge of atrial fibrillation and provide you with links to further resources. You will find the following in this atrial fibrillation fact sheet:

  • definition
  • prevalence and incidence
  • signs and symptoms
  • causes/risk factors
  • pathophysiology (mechanism of disease)
  • prognosis and complications
  • diagnosis/detection
  • non-pharmacological treatment
  • pharmacological treatment
  • patient support and further resources.

As with all our materials, topic experts have reviewed this fact sheet. You can download this fact sheet for your reference. You can also access it via the link above or the directory at any time that you need to.

CPPE Atrial fibrillation and arrhythmias gateway page
The CPPE Atrial fibrillation and arrhythmias gateway page contains further learning resources to help you develop and refresh your understanding of how to support those with these clinical conditions.

Behaviour change interventions

In this section we provide resources to support you to learn more about:

  • starting a conversation about behaviour change
  • lifestyle advice linking to smoking cessation, obesity, physical activity, alcohol consumption
  • tools and techniques to encourage behaviour change.

Starting a conversation about behaviour change

Health Education England (HEE) Making Every Contact Count programme
The HEE Making Every Contact Count programme has been developed for all healthcare staff to help them to make the most of the contact that they have with people and have conversations about health and wellbeing. It can be accessed without a login directly via the HEE website - Making Every Contact Count programme GPhC registrants who wish to have this programme recorded on their HEE learning record can access the programme via the e-Learning for healthcare learning modules on the CPPE website.

Consultation skills for pharmacy practice
The Consultation skills for pharmacy practice programme offers resources that can be used to support the whole pharmacy team to feel confident to engage with consultations. One of the resources that is signposted to here is the CPPE Consultation skills for pharmacy support staff distance learning which can be used to help all pharmacy staff improve their consultation skills.

Lifestyle advice linking to smoking cessation, obesity, physical activity, alcohol consumption

A key part of this service is sharing information about healthy lifestyles when this is appropriate. This may include discussing a person’s diet, smoking, physical activity, alcohol and/or weight. There are several resources that can help you to successfully engage in these conversations.

Health Education England Population Wellbeing Portal
The HEE Population Wellbeing Portal aims to:

  • Centralise access to knowledge resources on public health and population health, to
  • Make it easier to find the resources needed to support the public to protect and improve their health, by
  • Equipping people to help the public to stay healthy and deal with threats to their health.

All Our Health
The Population Wellbeing Portal is linked to the All Our Health framework - a resource for all health and care professionals to help you use your knowledge, skills and relationships to prevent illness, protect health and promote wellbeing.
To support the All Our Health framework HEE have developed a series of All Our Health e-learning sessions to provide a bite-sized introduction to the wide range of topics covered in the All Our Health framework. There are several that you can use to directly support your delivery of this service:

CPPE Dealing with difficult discussions e-learning
The CPPE Dealing with difficult discussions e-learning builds on CPPE’s basic communication and consultation skills learning programmes to help staff undertake more difficult discussions with people. This includes conversations around weight management and alcohol.

CPPE Alcohol misuse: support and advice from the pharmacy team distance learning
The CPPE Alcohol misuse: support and advice from the pharmacy team distance learning programme contains information that you can use to support you in having conversations about alcohol consumption. Sections 1 to 4 provide background information on the effects of alcohol consumption and how to offer brief advice. Section 6 offers a series of case studies to help you apply this learning.

CPPE Weight management for adults: understanding the management of obesity e-learning
The CPPE Weight management for adults: understanding the management of obesity e-learning Section 1, What is overweight and obesity and why is it a public health problem? And Section 3, Patient journeys provide you with practical advice on how you can support patients on their own weight loss journey, including how to initiate the difficult discussion around weight management.

Tools and techniques to encourage behaviour change

Supporting a person to make a behavioural change may be challenging. The following resources offer tools and techniques to support you to achieve this.

Better conversation health coaching tools.
One technique that you can use to support people to make a change is health coaching. “Health coaching gives people the knowledge, skills and confidence to become more active in their care to maximize personal well-being and overall health.”3 Better conversation offers a range of training and resources to support you in developing your skills in health coaching.

Consultation skills for pharmacy practice: taking a patient-centred approach distance learning programme
The core learning for the Consultation skills for pharmacy practice programme is the CPPE Consultation skills for pharmacy practice: taking a patient-centred approach distance learning programme. In this programme you can find Section 5 Health coaching in patient consultations. In addition to information on how to deliver health coaching this section also contains information on motivational interviewing.


  1. British Heart Foundation. UK Factsheet. 2020. Available from: www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/our-research/heart-statistics
  2. NHS. Online version of the NHS Long Term Plan. Available from: www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/online-version/
  3. Better Conversation. What is health coaching? Available from:www.betterconversation.co.uk/health-coaching.html