Jul 23, 2013

Re-Launched Health Checks Could Save Hundreds of Lives in England


Just last weekend, a 'call to action' plan was issued by Hunt as he pin-pointed that an estimated 650 deaths, 1,600 heart attacks and 4,000 cases of diabetes a year could be avoided with NHS Health Checks.

NHS Health Checks rolled out by Public Health of England (PHE) is a national risk assessment that aims to prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia through screening people aged between 40 and 74 at high risk of these conditions every five years to identify any potential concerns early.

Clearly, Health Checks provide a real opportunity for individuals to take control of their well-being, tackle premature mortalities, disability and reduce health inequalities in England. As reported by the BBC, hundreds of lives could be saved in England with better stipulation and take-up of these checks, Jeremy Hunt has said. "I'd like to see all 40 to 74 year olds taking up this potentially life-saving opportunity. And I'd like to see the NHS and local authorities encouraging people in their area to get involved".

PHE have now unveiled new plans1 conveying how they will run the national screening programme with local authorities, which took control of organising Health Checks in April. Professor Kevin Fenton (Director of Health and Wellbeing for PHE) believes that this will be 'amazing opportunity for local authorities to take leadership' on public health'. The launched drive is intended to improve the coverage of the NHS Health Checks scheme in order to reach its goal of providing them to 15 million patients by 2018/2019. To encourage patients to respond to their invitation letter, a social marketing campaign will so be implemented.

Although some GPs remain sceptical about the checks, GP's will be at the heart of the strategic expansion and reach of NHS Health Checks with plans to boost the take-up by 50%. GP practises will be assessed on how many checks for blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and lifestyle they carry out in their local areas'. This data will then be available on a new website to boost transparency, helping expert panels to track progress and review methods that work to drive patient uptake.

Jul 23, 2013