Face-to-face health checks more than doubled in one year

  • 2.9 million NHS Health Checks offered and 1.1 million checks conducted in 2022/23 – more than double activity in 2021/22
  • 1.1 million tests are estimated to have prevented more than 400 heart attacks and strokes and identified 220,000 people who would benefit from statins
  • The government announced last week the launch of a new digital health check from spring that will deliver more than one million checks in four years

More than a million people had face-to-face NHS Health Checks last year – more than double the previous year – new data published by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) today shows.

The NHS Health Screen helps prevent heart attacks and strokes and is currently an in-person screening for adults in the UK aged 40 to 74 years. These tests can help identify early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or dementia.

New data published by OHID shows face-to-face health screenings have recovered to pre-pandemic levels thanks to the efforts of local authorities and NHS staff, helping to prevent potentially deadly cardiovascular disease across the country.

OHID data for 23/2022 shows:

  • 2.9 million people were offered checks by local authorities – up from 1.3 million in 2021/22
  • 1.1 million checks sent on 23/2022 – up from 500,000 on 22/2021
  • 10.2 million checks offered and 4.3 million made between April 2018 and March 2023, despite disruptions due to the pandemic

Cardiovascular disease is the second biggest killer in the UK and affects around 6.4 million people. It is estimated that the 1.1 million screenings administered in 2022/23 will help prevent more than 400 strokes and heart attacks, identify 220,000 people who would benefit from statin treatment, and diagnose 32,000 people with hypertension.

It follows last week’s announcement of a new digital NHS Health Check to be rolled out in the UK from spring. It will operate concurrently with the existing face-to-face scheme, and will mail an additional one million checks over four years.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken action to understand their health and prevent potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

This midlife MOT is critical to preventing disease, reducing pressure on the NHS and cutting waiting time – one of the government’s five priorities – and I would encourage anyone offering checks to come forward and take advantage of the offer.

As the NHS’s 75th birthday approaches, it’s been great to see so many people undergo health screenings last year – and even more will be achieved when new digital screenings roll out starting in the spring.

You can do the NHS Health Check if you are aged 40 to 74 and have not had a stroke, or have no pre-existing health conditions. If this applies to you, you will receive an invitation from your surgeon or local authority for an NHS Health Check every 5 years.

Each new digital screening could save around 20 minutes of NHS time – potentially freeing up hundreds of thousands of primary care appointments and helping cut NHS wait times.

Patients will be able to access checks via mobile, tablet or computer. They will complete an online questionnaire, including measurements of height, weight, and blood pressure, as well as blood test results.

The results will be available online and lead people to personalized advice for reducing their risk of heart attack or stroke, as well as advice on quitting smoking and weight management support if needed. Referrals to a general practitioner will only be made if further tests and treatment are needed – helping to reduce the demand for GP services.

OHID data on in-person health checks is here: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/nhs-health-check-detailed

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