Stroke prevention at the heart of the community

Free blood pressure checks are on offer at local libraries and community hubs in Haringey under new measures designed to reduce the number of people suffering strokes in the borough.

This year’s Haringey Annual Public Health report highlights how staff and volunteers from Bridge Renewal Trust, Embrace UK and Tottenham Hotspur have been trained to carry out the potentially life-saving checks at a range of convenient locations, such as libraries and community centres and at some community events - writes

General practices are also working to identify and offer checks to people at high risk of stroke, through measures such as offering a check at the same time as their seasonal flu jab. More than 10,000 blood pressure and pulse checks have already been carried out, leading to more than 2,000 additional diagnoses of high blood pressure and nearly 300 additional diagnoses of atrial fibrillation – a kind of irregular pulse rhythm that increases the risk of stroke.

This year’s annual public health report shines the spotlight on the issue of stroke, which is one of the biggest causes of death and physical disability in Haringey.

Until recently, Haringey had the highest rate of early death from stroke – defined as people dying from stroke under the age of 75 - of any London borough. While there has been a recent a fall in the rate of early death, likely due to lower smoking rates and local work on other risk factors for stroke, the overall number of strokes remains higher than in similar areas.

Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Jason Arthur, said:

"The fact is that too many people in Haringey suffer strokes. We’re pleased to have seen a recent reduction in the number of deaths from stroke in our borough, but we know there is still work to be done. Offering free checks at handy locations around the borough – and removing the need for people to make a doctor’s appointment for a simple check – means we can help more people understand their own blood pressure.

"We’re also continuing to champion healthier living and active lifestyles, including offering support to quit smoking and free exercise opportunities, so that we can continue to improve Haringey’s health.

"I would encourage everyone to take advantage of these free checks and find out more about how they can look after their blood pressure."

The annual health report – jointly penned by Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, Director of Public Health at Haringey Council, Beverley Tarka, Director of Adult Social Services and Tony Hoolaghan, Chief Operating Officer, Haringey and Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – also details a number of other ways to reduce the number of people having strokes.

It pledges that the council, CCG, NHS and other community groups and partners will work together to create a healthy Haringey where it is easy to be active, eat well and stay smoke free. Haringey Council and Haringey CCG will also continue to work together to support people living with stroke and their carers to be as independent as possible.

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