NHS health checks could prevent 4000 cases of diabetes a year

Mon, 22 Jul 2013
Thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes in England could be prevented each year if more people took advantage of free NHS health checks.

That's the view of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt who revealed that full take-up of blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and lifestyle checks for people aged 40 to 74 years would prevent 650 deaths, 1,600 heart attacks and 4,000 cases of type 2 diabetes a year.

"Around 15 million people in England are eligible for a free NHS Health Check that could identify serious conditions early and add years to their life," Mr Hunt said.

"I'd like to see all 40 to 74-year-olds taking up this potentially life-saving opportunity. And I'd like to see the NHS and local authorities encouraging people in their area to get involved. We could save 650 lives a year if there was full take-up.

"We are an ageing population, and thinking about our health early is vital to living a long and prosperous life."

Public Health England (PHE), which leads the NHS Health Check programme, said it now plans to improve access and take-up of the scheme. The body has launched a 10-point plan to help councils offer the health MOTs to 20% of their eligible local population a year, with the overall goal of providing them to 15 million people by 2018/19.

Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE director of health and wellbeing, said: "NHS Health Check programme offers a real opportunity to reduce avoidable deaths and disability, and tackle health inequalities in England.

"We must do more to increase uptake and referral to appropriate risk management services, particularly in those communities at greatest risk, to remove blocks in processes that get in the way and make sure the programme is of consistent high quality across the country."
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