NHS chiefs have said that blood pressure testing must become more routine if we are to prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes.

This could mean testing taking place at work and at supermarket checkouts. Firefighters will also measure people’s blood pressure while fixing smoke alarms in an attempt to spot more people at risk of heart disease and offer them treatment or lifestyle advice.

Pharmacies and Opticians offer blood pressure tests but the NHS wants to expand the scheme beyond the health service and is encouraging local areas to come up with ‘creative’ ways to increasing testing.

More than five million people have high undiagnosed blood pressure and Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, estimates that spotting them and offering treatment could prevent 9,710 heart attacks and 14,500 strokes over the next three years saving the NHS up to £274 million.