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.