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1 in 3 Chester residents receive GP referrals as award-winning health initiative targets the area

Press Release   •   Feb 21, 2017 14:57 GMT

Stroke Association representative Bindi Patel checks John Carvin’s blood pressure

Nearly a third of Chester residents who had their blood pressure checked at a free drop-in event were referred to a GP for further investigation after presenting high readings.

On Thursday 16 February, Vision Express hosted a ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ day at its store on Northgate Street. The Chester drop-in is the latest in a series of events held nationwide by the national retailer, as part of an award-winning partnership with the Stroke Association. They aim to highlight hypertension as a contributing factor in around half[1] of all strokes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

One of those tested during the blood pressure clinic was Chester resident, Denise Arnos. She said: “I think it is important to get your blood pressure checked and great that Vision Express and the Stroke Association are trying to raise awareness, as it’s important to know the status of your own health.”

Anne Tilley was one of 31% of those tested, to be referred for further advice from a GP. Anne explained: “I am glad I took up the offer of having my blood pressure checked today, as I found out it was slightly high.”

National statistics highlight that within the NHS West Cheshire CCG (clinical commissioning group), just over 5,000[2] people are stroke survivors, a figure that represents 2%[3] of the local population.

John Carvin, who was visiting from Nottingham for the day with his wife, said: “I had high blood pressure and then had a heart attack in 2004. I got treated for this but then it made my blood pressure too low. I now get regular checks as I know how important it is and I am glad to see today that my blood pressure is still stable.”

During the event, Jane Fenwick and Bindi Patel, both information, advice & support coordinators at the Stroke Association, were on hand to perform the potentially life-saving health check.

Since joining the charity nine years ago, both Jane’s brother and sister-in-law have had strokes. Her brother, has experienced long-term effects including a loss of vision and poor memory.

Bindi, who previously worked for 23 years as a speech therapist helping people affected by the condition, joined the Stroke Association six months ago as she wanted to do more to help. Alongside Jane, Bindi completed a fire and ice walk last November to help raise funds for the charity.

Vision Express Chester store manager, Phil Robinson, added: “It’s vital to raise awareness of the link between high blood pressure and stroke, so these events are extremely beneficial. Many people are still unaware of the dangers of high blood pressure and that many stroke survivors have lasting visual issues that our trained optometrists can help with.

“We were really lucky to have both Jane and Bindi with us to undertake the blood pressure readings – they were so friendly and informative. They took time to explain things through with everyone and they really put the public at ease.”

9.5 million people, or one in seven, in the UK are diagnosed with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. For every 10 people diagnosed, seven remain undiagnosed and untreated – accounting for more than 5.5 million people in England alone. Uncontrolled blood pressure can, over time, lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and eye problems. Although there are a greater number of stroke related deaths in women (23,000 in the UK in 2015[4] alone) men are at higher risk of having a stroke at a younger age.

Louise Lawless, community and events fundraising manager for the Stroke Association, said: “A simple and painless test could prevent a devastating stroke. Too few people are aware just how serious stroke is – it is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and second in the world.

“It’s vital that everyone knows what their blood pressure level should be and has regular checks.”

Did you know?

  • There are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK
  • The average age of stroke has decreased in recent years. People are now most likely to have a stroke over the age of 55.
  • Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer and twice as many men than prostate and testicular cancer combined, each year
  • Up to 60 per cent of people will experience visual problems following a stroke, yet one in three are unaware that sight loss could be a problem or that treatment and support is available
  • For every stroke avoided the NHS saves £23,000, not including the vast social care costs and the effect on the economy from people needing to stop work

‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ events are taking place at selected Vision Express stores nationwide throughout 2017, visit

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To book an eye test at the Chester store call 01244 409138, visit 42-48 Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HA or make an online enquiry at:

[1] Stroke Association ‘State of the Nation’ report, January 2016



[4] Stroke Association ‘State of the Nation’ report, January 2016 

About Vision Express

Vision Express is the third largest optical retailer in the UK and part of GrandVision, the global leader in optical retail, operating across 44 countries and spanning 6,100 stores and online. GrandVision is committed to delivering superior, high quality and affordable eye care to more and more people around the world.

With almost 390 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best personalised optical care, style and quality. Customers can select from a wide range of frames and lenses for glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses, allowing everybody to reflect their individual personalities and lifestyles.

With prices starting from £39, the Exclusive Brands in-house collection of eyewear makes the choice at Vision Express both unique and affordable. For frames and sunglasses the styles range from iconic, retro designs to the latest in ultra-modern chic. High-quality brands to suit every style and every budget.

With over 4,000 employees, Vision Express makes a difference to the communities it operates within, and as part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, it is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charitable Partnerships and include:

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