Barbers in London are being trained to test the blood of customers to help combat high blood pressure in a new project, run by London South Bank University (LSBU).
The project aims to target black and Asian men as they are statistically more likely to have undiagnosed high blood pressure.
A total of eight barbershops in south London will be offering on-the-spot blood pressure checks for customers who request one. This follows a similar scheme that took place in Los Angeles from 2016 to 2018 and 68% of people found to have high blood pressure ended the study with healthy levels.
High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in England, accounts for more than one in 10 visits to GPs and contributes to 75,000 deaths every year – but millions of people are thought to go undiagnosed.
Barbers in Croydon, Mitcham, Thornton Heath, Bromley and South Norwood are taking part in the scheme, which began on Monday 12 April.
Hugh Benain, from Finishing Touches in Mitcham, said the project could help save lives. He says: “We’ll be offering our customers on-the-spot blood pressure tests and health information for them to take away.”
“High blood pressure is a silent killer and providing tests and information from our barbershop could save lives.”
Nicola Thomas, an LSBU professor, said: “Sadly, millions of adults in the UK have high blood pressure and half are undiagnosed which can lead to strokes or heart attacks.
“It is the trusting relationship that customers have with their barbers that is so important – we need to take healthcare out into the community.”