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NHS Health Checks to be rolled out in all areas 'by 2016'

The NHS Health Checks scheme will be rolled out to all 15 million eligible people in England over the next three years, says Public Health England.

In a document laying out its priorities for 2013-16 the new NHS body said all 40 to 74 year olds will be offered health checks, which were introduced in 2009 with the aim of preventing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia.

The announcement follows a Government pledge to expand the programme in its cardiovascular disease strategy - published in March - and ensure wider uptake by patients. The strategy said it would ensure that GP practices identify at-risk patients routinely by publishing league tables of expected versus actual prevalence rates.

Public Health England (PHE) said one of its priorities was to reduce preventable deaths and to do this it would ‘support people to live healthier lives by implementing NHS Healthchecks to 15 million eligible people.’

It added: ‘We will support the rollout of the Health Check programme by local authorities, assuring full implementation across the country.’

PHE will also prioritise promoting prevention and recover of dementia, anxiety, depression, drug dependency; finding solutions for the problem of antimicrobial resistance; accelerate improvements in child health outcomes and improving health in the workplace.

The news comes despite a recent study showing that a third of patients at high risk of having or developing diabetes may be missed by the NHS Health Checks scheme, as patients with high HbA1c levels but normal or low body weight, were being systematically overlooked.

Earlier this year, researchers also called for a review of the programme as there was a ‘marked variation’ in its uptake meaning it may not be cost effective.

Readers' comments (3)

  • The "health check" concept is appealing but a bit like an mot it picks a position in time, carries little future predictive worth and is highly observer dependant.
    I am reminded of the child star of the 1950's jungle book who did not become a major hollywood star owing to an untimely heart attack- 24 hours after a much publiscised health check with "the best American Cardiologist" who pronounced him on camera to be " the fittest person I have ever seen".

    Evidenced based interventions only- health checks as seen by the public follow the salt proposal, "if a little tastes good, a lot tastes better" - exactly what we have found in our own meals then?

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  • NOOO!!!

    This sort of "health check" is a constant desire of politicians; but it is driven by their desire to be elected. It's one of those "obviously good ideas" that is only an obviously good idea if you ignore all the evidence as to whether such interventions actually do more good than harm and are actually effective.

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  • Seems that retiring at sixty IS a good idea. Yet more screening done "because its there" rather than for logical reasons backed up by firm data.

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