Local GPs test out targeted NHS Health Check

More effort will be made to get certain groups of patients to take up the check.
Patient having their blood pressure taken by their GP

A pilot scheme has been launched to offer an extra 2,500 NHS Health Checks to certain patients at some GP surgeries in Reading.

Melrose and Eldon Rd Surgery, Tilehurst Village Surgery, Grovelands Medical Centre and Westwood Road Surgery have signed up to a plan to offer the check to more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people and residents living in the most deprived areas of Reading. Men aged 40-49, smokers and overweight people could also be prioritised.

More attention is being put on these groups of people after an audit found they were either less likely to come forward for a health check or were at risk of becoming more ill with Covid if they have the diseases that the check is looking for.

What is the NHS Health Check?

  • Offered to all people aged 40-74 as part of a national public health programme
  • Traditionally carried out at your GP surgery by a nurse or healthcare assistant
  • You have a blood test and your height, weight and blood pressure is measured
  • You are asked questions about your lifestyle and if some diseases run in the family
  • You are given a cardiovascular disease risk score (an estimate of how likely you are to get heart disease or have a stroke in the next 10 years)
  • You also find out any possible risk of developing kidney disease and diabetes
  • You could get advice about any lifestyle changes or be referred to other services

Reading Borough Council – which oversees public health – will pay the GP surgeries £55,000 for extra efforts in targeting certain patients. The council is also considering appointing organisations other than GPs to offer the NHS Health Check, from different venues like community centres, where some people might feel more comfortable. Community champions might also be created to promote the Health Check.

The plans were set out at the Reading Health and Wellbeing Board on 21 January 2022. During the discussion, Healthwatch Reading’s chief executive, Mandeep Kaur Bains, called for improvements to the way the NHS Health Check is promoted and explained to patients.  “In the past we’ve had feedback from people that they don’t know why they’re having it or why they’ve been chosen to have it. We need to be telling people what the health check involves and why this is good for you.”

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