An increased number of pharmacies across England will begin to provide free heart check-ups.
Patients will have their blood pressure and cholesterol tested.
Experts have suggested that that programme, which may roll out to every pharmacy in the country, could potentially prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks and strokes in the next 10 years.
Heart Research UK comment
Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive of Heart Research UK, said: “It is estimated that 7 million people in the UK are living with cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease is still the nation’s single biggest killer, responsible for more than 66,000 deaths a year.
“Despite this, many people are still not aware of the risk factors. That’s why these free, accessible checks are so welcome. The more people that are aware of their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers the better, as they can then take positive steps to reduce their risk of heart disease.
“Diagnosis of conditions such as atrial fibrillation or high blood pressure by pharmacists will allow the right steps to be taken for patients sooner, reducing GPs workloads and allowing for earlier intervention.
“Anything that can reduce stress on the NHS and help to improve public knowledge around heart disease can only be a good thing.”