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Patients to be offered health checks during flu and Covid vaccination from autumn

Patients to be offered health checks during flu and Covid vaccination from autumn

Patients dropping in for flu and top-up Covid vaccinations this autumn will be offered a health check at the same time, NHS England has announced.

Patients will be offered a range of tests including blood pressure, heart-rhythm and cholesterol checks as part of the plans, which NHS England said would save ‘thousands of lives’.

According to research carried out by NHS England in collaboration with the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, one patient may be prevented from suffering a stroke from every 5,000 people offered heart checks at vaccination centres.

Researchers estimate that 1,000 patients may be prevented from suffering a stroke every year if everyone over 65 was offered an annual rhythm check, NHS England said.

Speaking today at the NHS Confederation Conference, NHS England chief operating officer Amanda Pritchard set out plans to make ‘every contact count’ by introducing health checks at times when patients already have other appointments.

She told delegates: ‘The NHS is not just a sickness service but a health service which is why we want to make every contact count, using every opportunity to keep people well rather than just seeking to make them better.

‘We want to offer a fully integrated care system, where we can reach out to people in the communities they live in – not just diagnosing and treating conditions, but working in partnership with the public and intervening before advanced disease occurs, keeping people healthy and well.’

She added that the ‘hugely successful NHS vaccine programme’ has given the ‘opportunity to make every contact count by going out into peoples’ communities to beat coronavirus while also catching other killer conditions’.

‘The checks – like the jabs – will be available in convenient locations in local communities including village halls, churches, mosques and local sports centres and prevent people becoming seriously ill,’ she said.

NHS England said this comes as pharmacists have been offering on-the-spot heart checks to identify patients at risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke as part of an ongoing pilot, providing clinical and lifestyle advice and, where appropriate, referring patients on to treatment.

It also highlighted an example of Leeds dentists offering patients blood pressure and heart rhythm tests, while Croydon’s ‘Vaxi Taxi’ has been offering blood pressure checks, podiatry services and hepatitis C testing at community vaccination pop-ups for homeless people in London.

But the plans also come as the NHS Health Check programme, which targets everyone over 40, was paused in some areas during the pandemic, with promises of income protection for GP practices.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said he is ‘absolutely clear’ that a Covid vaccination booster programme will run this autumn but deputy CMO Dr Jonathan Van-Tam has said it could be delayed if needed.

NHS England told Pulse that the final details of the health check programme are still being worked on, but said it will be up to local health providers to decide which particular checks they provide and to which groups.


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.


Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

John Graham Munro 16 June, 2021 2:22 pm

Just as we were contemplating putting our feet up

David Jenner 16 June, 2021 2:23 pm

Tricky to see how we will fit this into busy vaccination clinics where we see a patient every couple of minutes! Is this not what the NHS Health Checks are all about?
Will these checks be similarly funded ? But in my view trying to do too much in one go.
Checking BP at same time as a jab will give many false high readings and who will follow these up and explain the cholesterol readings and do the ECGs for irregular pulse? ( especially if checks done by non GPs)
Doing the checks is the easy bit, following them up and treating them is the tricky and time consuming part.
A nice idea but will just further supercharge workload if done with flu and COVID jabs and will slow vaccination clinics and the program down!
Needs funding too, BMA show your mettle please in pushing back at this .

Giles Elrlngton 16 June, 2021 2:30 pm

I wonder if there is any evidence to support “health checks”? I thought there was not.

Richard Greenway 16 June, 2021 2:59 pm

Our NHS healthchecks take 20-30 mins.
If we give 30% of our population flu + another covid – no way enough time.
And if other agencies are going to be checking BPs and cholesterols too – important that when abnormal they get sent to someone other than GP to sort out diagnose and treat -we’ll be busy enough!

Anthony Everington 16 June, 2021 3:00 pm

How much will it cost?
Where is the staff to do it?
Couldn’t we encourage patients to self check as they do with some cancers? BP machine at £30 which can check for irregular pulse and BP at the same time. Should not not this be standard equipment in any household?
What about investing in school age children to prevent a lot of this. Health of children is down in the last 10 years and school nurses are down by 30%

Patrufini Duffy 16 June, 2021 3:12 pm

140/90. Hr 74. Regular.
Stool type 1.

Michael Mullineux 16 June, 2021 3:44 pm

Blue sky thinking by those that have never had to administer thousands of vaccines in a few weeks.

Bob Hodges 16 June, 2021 4:06 pm

No they won’t.

Mr Marvellous 16 June, 2021 4:13 pm

5000 checks to prevent 1 stroke?

Imagine if the same funding was actually spent on proper primary care (ie GP time) – imagine how much actual disease could be treated… As usual, NHS England wants to do anything and everything except actually help.

Dermot Ryan 17 June, 2021 9:17 am

This is an absolute nonsense: How will vaccination clinics be able to assess record and transmit this data back to practices? How will the staff, many who have little or no medical background be able to advise or reassure patients? It takes 5-10 minutes to process a patient at te moment, how much extra time will this add.
NHS England have demonstrated very well that they do not understand health, care or health care delivery. This latest initiative confirms they are not fit for purpose and should be disbanded immediately.

Vinci Ho 17 June, 2021 2:10 pm

Simple question :
How much time is needed to give a flu and/or Covid vaccines ?
And how much time is for a health check ?
Seriously, we have people coming from outer space being in charge of this health service .

John Graham Munro 17 June, 2021 4:02 pm

After resting up during the Bank Holliday, my surgery decided to shut shop again yesterday for—-you guessed it———-staff training

Dylan Summers 18 June, 2021 8:14 am

NHS healthchecks are an excellent way to generate demand for primary care services.

Presumably NHSE is concerned about all the currently unused capacity in primary care.

James Weems 22 June, 2021 11:13 pm

Who thinks this stuff up? Have they seen how a GP vaccination session runs??