Supermarket health checks success

GP-led opportunistic health checks in supermarkets can help to identify undiagnosed patients, including those with CVD and diabetes.

Dr Lee: led supermarket study (Photograph: Pete Hill)

A pilot study carried out in a south east London supermarket, on eight consecutive Saturdays between 10am and 2pm, screened 1,024 people. Each consultation took an average of four minutes 23 seconds.

The results revealed that 425 people (42 per cent) needed follow-up; 261 (25 per cent) individuals were previously undiagnosed, while 106 had abnormal results in a previously diagnosed condition.

Overall, 95 patients (9 per cent) had raised blood glucose, 172 (17 per cent) had hypertension, and 52 (5 per cent) had FEV1 less than 75 per cent of the predicted value. In addition, 29 per cent screened positive for depression.

Dr Eugenia Lee, a GP in Greenwich, who led the study, said: 'We challenged a lot of GPs' beliefs because like me, they didn't believe these people were out there. Our practice was doing really well.'

She said that despite the open situation of the health check station there had been no complaints from patients about confidentiality issues.

Dr Lee outlined that initial analyses had shown that some 1,000 patients at her practice were undiagnosed with hypertension, diabetes and COPD. She said: 'That figure worried me tremendously.

'It has got to be something that I don't know about because my practice worked really well and our QOF targets were great, each and every year, so where are these people?'

A trawl through practice records revealed individuals on the list that the practice had not been in contact with for years.

Dr Lee said that if the patients were unwilling to present to the surgery then the logical step was to go out and find them.

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