New evidence highlights value of NHS Health Check
Positive evidence for the benefits of the NHS Health Check has been published in the first report from the NHS Health Check Expert Scientific and Clinical Advisory Panel
The report found that more females and those in the most deprived areas have received Health Checks and there has been consistently higher coverage among older people, those in the most deprived areas and with a family history of heart disease. Coverage among ethnic groups appears to be higher than in White British.
Endorsement from community ambassadors appears to be particularly important for uptake among ethnic minority groups. Telephone and text messages and reminders seem to increase uptake by up to 9%. There is some qualitative evidence that having the health check in a community (non GP) setting might increase uptake due to improved convenience, but further research is needed.
Healthcare professionals concerns about the programme were around inequality of uptake and doubts about the evidence behind the programme. The main challenges to implementation in primary care included difficulties with IT and computer software, and the impact on practice workload.
People who had a Health Check showed very high levels of satisfaction and many said that the check was a good wake-up call to initiate lifestyle changes. However there was confusion over the cardiovascular risk score and many felt that lifestyle information given was too simple and not sufficiently personalised.
Health Checks detect risk factors and disease in patients who attend with a new diagnosis of hypertension every 30–40 cases, a new diagnosis of diabetes for every 80–200 NHS Health Checks and a person with a cardiovascular disease risk ≥ 20% identified every 6–10 checks.
The two documents ‘Emerging evidence on the NHS Health Check: findings and recommendations, and NHS Health Check rapid evidence synthesis are available from www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/commissioners_and_providers/evidence/