Uptake of life-saving NHS Health Check on-the-up in Oxfordshire

More people in Oxfordshire are taking up the offer of  a free NHS Health Check than ever before.

Figures released yesterday (11/6) show the number of people getting a check has been steadily increasing with 2,394 more checks carried out between April 2014 and March 2015 than the previous year. This means more than half (53 per cent) of those invited accepted. Nationally the figure is 48.8per cent.

The NHS Health Check is offered to everyone aged between 40 and 74 without a pre-existing condition. It’s a free mid-life MOT which checks for the early signs of dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. GP practices are funded to complete the checks by the county council’s public health budget.

Cabinet Member for public health, Cllr Hilary Hibbert-Biles, says the increase in uptake is a good sign for individuals and the county as a whole:

“It is estimated that if 55 per cent of people invited for a NHS Health Check take up the offer in Oxfordshire each year, 641 new cases of high blood pressure, 178 new cases of diabetes and 435 new cases of chronic kidney disease will be identified and treated at an earlier stage*.  These are just three examples that demonstrate how the programme we’re providing reduces the chances of someone developing a life-changing condition and in doing so reduces the burden on the NHS,” she said.

The figures come just weeks after a successful event to promote the scheme was held at London Welsh RFC’s final game of the season. Healthcare professionals performed more than 200 mini-checks at the Kassam stadium fixture on 16 May. It was just one of a host of tactics employed to increase understanding of the NHS Health Check programme.

Since the summer of 2014, publicity has formed an important part of the strategy to increase uptake of NHS Health Checks in Oxfordshire. The public health department has attended a number of events that have allowed face-to-face engagement – working with Oxford United FC to speak to fans in September; setting up at supermarkets to talk to shoppers in January – as well as utilising advertising such as branded taxis to spread the word.

“Getting the message out to people that this check can really help you to live a longer and healthier life is really important,” said Cllr Hibbert-Biles.

“I am very encouraged to see that in the final quarter of this financial year 75per cent of people invited for a NHS Health Check responded by accepting the offer.  This is a great result, especially when you consider that less than half were doing so in the first quarter”.

More information about NHS Health Checks can be found online at www.nhs.uk/choices/nhs-health-check or contact your GP practice to make an appointment.


*Figure generated by Public Health England ‘ready reckoner’ tool