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Less than half of patients attending ‘vital’ NHS Health Checks, new research shows



An analysis by Diabetes UK has found that less than half of patients eligible for an NHS Health Check received one in the last five years.

An analysis by Diabetes UK has found that less than half of patients eligible for an NHS Health Check received one in the last five years.

Local authorities must do more to encourage patients to access the ‘vital’ screenings, the charity has urged.

The charity found that only 44% of eligible patients received an NHS Health Check between 2013 and 2018.

This follows a study by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool City Council published in March, which said that the programme is currently ‘neither equitable nor cost-effective’.

Health Checks are offered every five years to patients aged 40 to 74 and screen for early signs of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney problems and dementia.

The new analysis also saw wide regional variation in the uptake of Health Checks. The best-performing local authority, Walsall, saw 99% attendance, compared to just 18% in both East Riding of Yorkshire and Croydon, the worst-performing local authorities.

Diabetes UK has urged local authorities to do more to encourage eligible patients to get their checks, describing the NHS Health Check as ‘a vital route’ for the referral of patients at high risk of type 2 diabetes to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Robin Hewings, head of policy at Diabetes UK, said: ‘The success of the [Health Check] programme in certain areas is due to local councils working hard to make it easier for people to attend these free health checks that only take 15 minutes and can help keep people healthy.’

‘It is absolutely vital that all people who are eligible in every area get a health check,’ Mr Hewings said.