NHS Health Check uptake falls again after showing some improvement

Uptake for the NHS Health Check for the first quarter of 2015/16 has fallen to just 44%, despite reaching the highest uptake to date of 56% in the final quarter of last year.

Just 44% of eligible patients are taking part in NHS Health Checks (Photo: iStock)
Just 44% of eligible patients are taking part in NHS Health Checks (Photo: iStock)

Over 760,000 patients aged 40-74 were offered an NHS Health Check between April and June this year, leading to just 338,000 accepting and receiving a check. This represents an uptake of 44%, a significant drop from the 56% seen last quarter.

The GPC has said there ‘was no point’ in continuing a scheme grounded in ‘shaky evidence’ that had to ‘force patients to engage in it’.

This most recent figure  for the first quarter of the scheme's third year under Public Health England (PHE)  has dragged the cumulative figure for 2013-2018 down from 49% as it stood at the end of last year to 48%.

PHE originally intended to drive uptake up to 66% by the end of the last financial year, but this failed to materialise.

The overall aim is for uptake to hit 75% by the end of the PHE’s five-year revival of the scheme in 2017/18 – an ambitious target given the most up-to-date figures.

NHS Health Check uptake

Uptake of NHS Health Checks has not shown much sign of improvement in recent years. Uptake for the same period (April-June) of last year was also 44%.

PHE’s national lead to the programme Jamie Waterall told GPonline in June that it remained committed to implementing the programme.

He said: ‘Around two-thirds of deaths among people under the age of 75 in England are estimated to be avoidable, and there are still high numbers of undiagnosed cases of disease such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes. The NHS Health Check provides us with an opportunity to focus our attention on addressing these preventable conditions.’

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