DoH invests £250 million in vascular screening for all over-40s

The DoH is putting £250 million a year into a vascular screening programme for everyone in England aged 40 to 74.

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

The scheme will be rolled out in 2009/10, with three million people a year to be targeted.

Health secretary Alan Johnson said the £250 million will cover staffing costs, carrying out the tests and any follow-up care needed.

GP practices will not carry out the tests alone, said Mr Johnson, adding: ‘We see pharmacy playing a big role here because they're accessible.

‘Brought down to the GP surgery it's seven appointments a week,' he said.

But this contrasts strongly with an estimated 40 extra appointments a week for the average practice, cited by GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman.

‘Whether it is nurses, GPs, healthcare assistants or pharmacists who do these checks, there is not currently the workforce, the time in the day, or even the space in our surgeries to carry out this number of consultations,' he said.

So far, screening will be for vascular risks such as atheroma and will comprise a basic questionnaire, as well as measurement of height, weight and BP and a blood cholesterol test.

Everyone aged 40-74 will be invited to screening once every five years. As a result of screening, patients will be told their risk profile and given advice on how to reduce their risk and, if needed, may be given scrips for statins or BP drugs.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

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