Huge variation in roll out of NHS Health Checks

Diabetes UK has recently released a report entitled NHS Health Checks in Local Authorities, ref: type 2 diabetes testing. 

This looks into the uptake and achievements of the Health Check policy, since its transition from the NHS to Local Authorities in 2013.  

NHS Health Checks are aimed at everyone between 40 and 74 years of age who has not been previously diagnosed with heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, or kidney disease. 

GPs generally carry these out, asking the patient a range of questions, and taking a number of tests, as follows: 
• Blood Pressure
• Blood test for Cholesterol
• Blood test for Kidney Disease and or Diabetes  (in those at risk). 
• Alcohol Checks (for those with high blood pressure 
• Body Mass Index (weight in kg / height in m2)

Diabetes UK has said, about the health checks: 
• It is estimated that health checks prevent 4,000 people from developing diabetes every year (if fully implemented) 
• They help diagnose diabetes in those who are unaware they have it 
• They have estimated savings to the NHS budget nationally, of £57miliion over four years, rising to £176 million over 15 years. 

In the first 9 months, of the eligible population: 
• 13.2% have been offered a health check
• 6.4% have received a Health Check 
• The number of checks offered range from 0.1% to 28% 
• Only 6 LA’s were on target, with 11.25%
• 9 LA’s delivered a check to less than 3%

As you can see there is huge variation in the number of Health Checks Offered, and only 8 Local Authorities are on target with their plans. Diabetes UK are therefore “concerned” that local authorities may not be offering the service to patients in an effective way. 

Results put forward in Diabetes UK’s report 

Each Local Authority has a different method for offering and publicising the Health Checks. Those LAs which have been successful are following specific plans, which include collaboration between GPs, community pharmacies and outreach programmes.  

The most successful Local Authority is Leicester City, with 23.1% of the eligible population being seen. Their programme has identified large numbers of previously undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes patients. 

Diabetes UK have produced an informative table, using data from Public Health England, firstly showing the most successful local authorities, and secondly, splitting each region into local authorities, showing their population sizes, the number of health checks booked, and the percentage of the eligible population who received health checks from March- Dec 2013. The table also gives the overall data per region. This can also be found on the NHS Health Checks pages themselves, 

The full report is available here
NHS Health Checks pages here 


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