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NHS to introduce digital health check next year

NHS to introduce digital health check next year

A new digital version of the NHS Health Check will launch next spring, the Government has announced.

It said this would help prevent more strokes and heart attacks as well as ease pressure on general practices and their staff.

The digital version of the check, which includes an online questionnaire, will sit alongside the current in-person checks that take place largely at GP practices.

In its first four years, this scheme is expected to deliver an additional one million checks, prevent around 400 heart attacks and strokes, and could save 20 minutes of NHS time per digital check, according to NHS England.

This policy was first announced in March as part of the Spring Budget and follows a pilot launched in Cornwall at the end of last year.

Results from the digital check can be accessed online and will signpost patients to advice on how to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

NHS England has said that demand on general practice will be reduced as patients will only be referred to their GP if further tests and treatments are needed.

The current face-to-face checks, delivered to adults in England aged 40 to 74 at a rate of 1.3 million a year, identify 315,000 people living with obesity and 33,000 cases of hypertension.

They can help spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia.

The new digital version of the health check will be accessed via a mobile phone, tablet or computer, and will require patients to enter their height, weight, blood pressure measurements and a blood test result.

In the pilots, blood pressure was taken at the pharmacy or in the GP waiting room.

According to NHS England it will help to identify 200,000 people who could benefit from the use of statins as well as 30,000 cases of hypertension.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said it will mean people ‘can do simple tests and get tailored advice from home while reducing pressure on GP services’.

He added: ‘This programme is the latest example of how we are using technology to cut waiting times, one of the government’s five priorities, improve diagnosis and treatment.’

In April, estimates from a pharmacy trade association showed that the NHS Community Pharmacy Blood Pressure Check Service, which launched in 2021, had prevented 600 future heart attacks and strokes in the first year of a new blood pressure service.

A version of this article first appeared in Pulse

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