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NHS Health Checks on the rise

The NHS Health Check, aimed at reducing the chance of high-risk individuals developing an avoidable disease, has received its highest number of appointments since its start in April 2009.

Public Health England (PHE) have released figures showing that out of 2,824,726 million people eligible for this programme between April 2013 and April 2014, more than 1.3 million people have accepted the offer, a 9.5% increase compared to last year.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison 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.”

Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, Professor Kevin Fenton said the health checks are particularly important for individuals at risk of developing long-term ailments.

Professor Fenton said: “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.”

Although more than 1.3 million people accepted the offer for a health check, the chair of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, Katie Hall still expressed her concern over the large proportion of people still avoiding these checks.

She 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.”

Since April 2013 local authorities have been in charge of overseeing the programme and the Professor Kevin Fenton commended their efforts.

He said: “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.”