Gordon Brown promised a more personal and preventative NHS today as he spelt out plans for a new national health screening programme to provide patients with early warning of some of the most serious conditions.
His remarks came as he declared the Government's intention to set up the first national screening programme of its kind in the world, spotting the early signs of heart problems, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
In his first major speech on health since becoming Prime Minister last year, Mr Brown promised "deeper and wider reform" of the NHS, including screening for all at-risk patients and stronger sanctions against poor performance.
Preventative health check-ups
Mr Brown said, "Over time everyone in Britain will have access to the right preventative health check-up. There will soon be check-ups on offer to monitor for heart disease, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease - conditions which affect the lives of 6.2 million people, cause 200,000 deaths each year and account for a fifth of all hospital admissions."
“Diabetes UK has been calling for many years for active programmes to identify people with Type 2 diabetes early," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.
"People can remain undiagnosed with the condition for up to 12 years, so screening is vital to ensure appropriate diabetes care and treatment. There are 750,000 people in the UK who have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know it, so further action is needed to ensure that people with are identified earlier.
“People at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes should be targeted with systematic screening. Risk factors include being over the age of 40, having a family history of the condition and having a large waist.
“Targeted screening programmes would go a long way towards reducing the devastating and costly diabetes-related complications of coronary heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, stroke and amputations.”