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What is Public Health England playing at?



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The PR team at Public Health England deserve a pat on the back. PHE’s heart age tool made plenty of headlines and got lots of people talking. A win for the organisation.

So I decided to have a go. It turns out that my heart is slightly older than my actual age (due to my BMI, which is skewed because of all my muscles – ahem).

Yet I was told to see my doctor because I didn’t know my cholesterol levels or blood pressure. The test gives this advice to anyone over the age of 30.

I’m not going to get into the clinical criticisms of the test – far more qualified people than me have done that.

Advising young, healthy people to see their doctor is pointlessly adding to GPs’  workloads

But even a lay person like me understands that 30-year-olds don’t need to know their blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Whatever the problems with NHS Health Checks, at least they are targeted at people over the age of 40.

By advising young, healthy patients to see their doctor if they don’t know blood pressure and cholesterol levels, they are pointlessly adding to GPs’ workloads.

So what exactly are PHE playing at by endorsing a tool that could cause potential harm by wasting GP and practice staff time?

It’s enough to drive up my blood pressure.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at editor@pulsetoday.co.uk