Everyone aged between 40 and 74 years in England will receive free NHS health checks from 1 April 2009 to help prevent conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
The health checks are part of a Government drive to ensure that people from this age group are given information about their health in order to make important lifestyle changes and to reduce their risk of developing the above conditions.
What the checks will involve
The checks are likely to be available at GP surgeries, health centres, walk-in centres and pharmacies. The checks will include recording peoples’ height, weight, age and blood pressure, and a simple blood test for cholesterol, and in some cases a test for blood glucose levels.
Everyone will receive a personal assessment following the health check, which will set out their level of risk and give feedback on what they can do to reduce it.
An important move
“We welcome the introduction of NHS health checks," said Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy at Diabetes UK.
"This is an important move towards identifying people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for whom simple lifestyle changes could prevent the development of the condition.
"It could also identify some of the 500,000 people who have diabetes but do not know it.
“We look forward to hearing more details about how NHS health checks will engage hard-to-reach groups who do not traditionally access healthcare services through primary care.
“Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation. Although it can be a genetic condition, it is very strongly linked to lifestyle and 80 per cent of people are overweight when they are diagnosed. Eating a healthy balanced diet and taking regular physical activity can reduce your chances of developing the condition.”