More people than ever before are accepting the offer to attend an NHS Health Check according to new figures from Public Health England (PHE).
The figures, published today (28 May 2014), show that in the last year over 1.3 million people have accepted the offer which aims to identify those at risk of serious, but potentially avoidable conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Out of the eligible population, 2,824,726 people across all 152 local authorities in England were offered, and 1,382,864 people have had, an NHS Health Check between April 2013 and April 2014, a 9.5% increase compared to the previous year.
This is the largest number of appointments offered and received since the programme started in April 2009, being the first annual results since local authorities took on responsibility for the programme in April 2013.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said:
It’s extremely encouraging to see more people than ever before are taking up the offer, but we want to do better. With such a huge burden of disease associated with potentially avoidable conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, the NHS Health Check presents a real opportunity for individuals to take steps earlier, and through modifications in behaviour and lifestyle, reduce their risk.
The success of the programme this year is testament to the dedicated collaborative work of local authorities and the NHS. In order to maximise the benefits to public health it is essential that we continue increasing the impact of the programme.
There are still variations across England in the number of people taking up this offer and we will continue to work with, and support, local action, ensuring the programme is accessible and benefiting those that need it across the country.
Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison said:
I am delighted to see more people than ever taking up the offer of a free NHS Health Check. These checks have a major part to play in early prevention of disease, and are an important step for many people towards improving their health and becoming more aware of how they can lead a healthier life.
I urge everyone who is offered an NHS Health Check to take up the offer.
Katie Hall, chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
One of the long-standing concerns of councils is that people who are most at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and dementia are often least likely to take up the offer of an NHS Health Check. Councils working in partnership with local GPs and pharmacies has led to a marked increase in take up, especially among socio-economically deprived communities, by organising opportunities in supermarkets, neighbourhood events and away from traditional health settings.
The key issue for local authorities will be making sure that, as well as improving the uptake for those who would most benefit, individuals have access to information and services that can support them to reduce their risks. This includes better information on where, and how, to get support for healthy diet and weight management, smoking cessation programmes and access to leisure services and green spaces.
Notes to editors:
An interactive map presenting the latest NHS Health Check figures from all 152 upper tier local authorities in England is available.
The latest data shows that out of the eligible population of just over 15 million people aged 40 to 74, a total of 2,824,726 NHS Health Checks were offered in the year 2013 to 2014. Of those offered, 49% were reported as taking up their check. PHE is committed to working with local authorities to increase the overall take up of the NHS Health Check towards 66% by March 2015.
NHS Health Check is made up of 3 key components: risk assessment, risk awareness and risk management. During the risk assessment standardised tests are used to measure key risk factors and establish the individual’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The outcome of the assessment is then used to raise awareness of cardiovascular risk factors, as well as inform a discussion on, and agreement of, the lifestyle and medical approaches best suited to managing the individual’s health risk.
Estimates carried out when the programme was introduced by the Department of Health in 2009 showed that NHS Health Checks could prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes, at least 650 premature deaths, and over 4,000 new cases of diabetes each year. At least 20,000 cases of diabetes or kidney disease could be detected earlier allowing individuals to be better managed and so improve their quality of life.
Local authorities and Public Health England took on responsibilities for the NHS Health Check programme in April 2013. The commissioning and monitoring of the risk assessment element of the NHS Health Check is a mandatory public health function for local authorities. Requirements are set out in The Local Authorities Public Health Functions and Entry to Premises by Local Healthwatch Representatives Regulations 2013.
Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk