NHS Health Check scheme to be reviewed in Havering over lack of patient uptake

NHS Health Checks will be scrapped in Havering. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/PA Images

NHS Health Checks will be scrapped in Havering. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/PA Images

The NHS Health Check scheme in Havering is being reviewed after a report revealed that only 35per cent of eligible people had taken part.

The report by online GP service Medicspot compares regional NHS data on the utilisation of health checks, a free service offered by the NHS to everyone aged 40-74 to prevent premature death from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

Havering was named in the report as among the least proactive places in England when it comes to health due to the low number of people who took part in the scheme over the past five years.

Out of the 54,968 eligible people in Havering, 83pc were offered a free NHS Health Check between 2014 and 2019.

Despite this, only 35pc of those eligible in the borough received a health check.

In comparison, as many as 88pc of the eligible population in Bolton received a health check within the same period.

In June, researchers revealed free NHS checks reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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The study found that over a six-year period, participants of the health check programme had lost weight, lowered blood pressure and fewer were smokers.

The government announced it plans to overhaul the scheme by creating a digital version that makes use of technology to save people needing to book face-to-face appointments with their GP.

Officials are yet to provide precise details of what the revamped health checks will look like in Havering, but they said they would harness "the latest technology, techniques, and data" and would include factors "that could include their age, where they live and their DNA" to personalise health checks.

Despite the planned overhaul, people in Havering who are aged 40-70 can still get a health check from their GP or pharmacist.

This would usually involve receiving a letter from your GP or local authority to invite you for a health check.

However, you can also request one yourself by contacting Havering Council for more information.

Medical director and GP at Medicspot Dr Johnson D'souza said: "People aged 40-74 who don't get a health check every five years are at an increased risk of undetected cardiovascular disease.

"By checking your blood pressure, lifestyle, family history, height and weight, we can get an idea of your risk of getting certain illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

"It is very worrying that only 35pc of people who were eligible for a free NHS Health Check in Havering took up the offer."

But Public Health England have insisted that "the NHS Health Check programme is not being scrapped".

Chief executive Duncan Selbie said: "Rather the government's evidence review is an opportunity to make it even more effective at reaching the 50pc of people who do not take up the current offer - and those who would benefit from a more frequent check.

!Local Government and the NHS will need to work together to make the next generation of health checks the best available in the world."