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Supermarkets set to offer NHS health checks at the checkout

Exclusive Supermarkets could begin conducting NHS health checks, using in-store tannoy announcements to attract shoppers.

The suggestion forms part of Greater Manchester Devolution board’s strategy to boost public health by increasing uptake to the national cardiovascular screening programme.

Although funding was still being negotiated, the board is targeting for pilots to be rolled out across Trafford and Oldham, papers published online revealed.

The proposal has been discussed alongside plans to also boost awareness about the NHS Health Check programme, which in Manchester could include promoting it in mosques and other ‘places of worship’, the papers said.

The Health Check programme was originally introduced in 2009 and aims to give all adults aged 40-74 a five-yearly cardiovascular risk assessment, but has been dogged by criticisms ever since, with leading GPs warning it leads to overtreatment and primary care resources being diverted to the ‘worried well’ and several studies demonstrating poor uptake and that it fails to identify those people most at risk from heart disease.

A case study published alongside the Greater Manchester Devolution Board’s public health strategy said: ‘In Trafford and Oldham negotiations are underway with supermarkets to offer health checks in store and advertise them over tannoys so people who may not otherwise want to visit their doctor can access the service there and then.’

It added: ‘In areas with high Black Minority Ethnic (BME) populations getting support from community leaders is very important and the service may work together with the local Council of Mosques and other places of worship or community groups in order to encourage people to get a health check.’

Wendy Meredith, director of public health for Bolton Council and chair of the Greater Manchester Public Health Group, said: ‘In Greater Manchester we have big ideas to improve health and we are working on a big ambitious plan to make sure we deliver.

‘The health checks programme is an important part of the plan because it will make a real difference quickly.’