Barbers in London are being trained to test the blood of customers to help combat high blood pressure.
Run by London South Bank University, the project was set out in order to raise awareness of high blood pressure, specifically in Black and Asian men, who are statistically more likely to have undiagnosed high blood pressure.
So far, eight barbershops in South London, Croydon, Mitcham, Thornton Heath, Bromley and South Norwood, have signed up to provide on-the-spot checks for customers, which began on Monday.
The idea came from a similar project that took place in Los Angeles between 2016 and 2018. The US project ran 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.
Hugh Benain, from Finishing Touches in Mitcham, said the project could help save lives.
“We’ll be offering our customers on-the-spot blood pressure tests and health information for them to take away,” he said.
“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.”