London barbershops trained to test blood pressure in UK-first project

Providing on-the-spot blood pressure checks to help tackle the third biggest cause of disease in the UK
19 April 2021

LSBU, Croydon BME Forum and Off the Record have today launched a project to train barbers to measure and give advice about blood pressure to their customers. The UK-first project has trained eight barbershops who have customers from Croydon to provide on-the-spot blood pressure checks and provide health information to them.

The London barbershop blood pressure testing project is inspired by a successful health study in Los Angeles barbershops in 2018 which resulted in 68% of those with high blood pressure ending the study with healthy blood pressure levels.

Around 30% of men in the UK currently have high blood pressure, around half of these are not diagnosed or receiving treatment. High blood pressure is the third biggest cause of disease in the UK, leading to kidney disease, vascular dementia and mobility problems, costing the NHS £2billion every year. The London barbershop project will target Black and Asian men who are more likely to have high blood pressure and less likely to be diagnosed than the general population.

The eight London barbers who will be providing blood pressure tests are: Finishing Touches (Mitcham), Yian the Barber (South Norwood), Cutter Hair Doctor (South Norwood), J & D Doyleys (Thornton Heath), House of Bertrand (Bromley), Da Ace Of Fades (Thornton Heath), The Barber Shop (Croydon) and Juls The Hair Klinik (Mitcham).

Nicola Thomas, LSBU Professor of Kidney Care and barbershop project lead, said, “For the first time in the UK, barbers will offer testing to their customers to find out if they have high blood pressure and then give advice about how to reduce it.

“Sadly, millions of adults in the UK have high blood pressure and half are undiagnosed which can lead to strokes or heart attacks. Our Croydon barbershop project aims to understand if we can run a similar project to the one in Los Angeles. It is the trusting relationship that customers have with their barbers that is so important – we need to take healthcare out into the community.”

Hugh Benain, from Finishing Touches barbershop, said, “It’s great to be taking part in this important project to tackle high blood pressure in the community. 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.”

In September 2021 Croydon’s first ever university campus will be opened. LSBU Croydon will offer health and business courses and is aimed at helping to tackle the huge nursing shortage in London and the South East.