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To assess the current levels of awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in England and to determine the number and type of drugs prescribed.A cross-sectional household-based survey of English adults.A random sample from the adult English population of 12 116 adults who participated in the 1994 Health Survey for England.Prevalences of treatment hypertension, awareness and control.Using a definition of hypertension as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 160 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 95 mmHg, or a patient's being administered antihypertensive treatment, the prevalence of awareness of hypertension was 63%. Among hypertensives, 50% were receiving treatment and 30% had their hypertension controlled (< 160 mmHg/95 mmHg). Awareness, treatment and control rates are considerably lower than the most recently reported rates from the USA. Diuretics and β-blockers remain the most common antihypertensive agents used in England.There is considerable scope for improving the treatment and control of hypertension in the English adult population.