North Yorkshire councillors to launch inquiry into uptake of health checks

An influential committee is to examine how to increase the uptake of NHS health checks for 40 to 74-year-olds amid concerns a significant proportion of the population have undiagnosed health conditions.

North Yorkshire Council’s scrutiny of health committee chair, Councillor Andrew Lee, said the 18-member panel would in the coming months investigate concerns some residents were missing the free tests of a range of risk factors being commissioned by the authority.

The programme is being offered to some extent by 60 out of 69 GP practices in the county and in the three months to April of the 4,092 people who received a health check 952 people were identified with a moderate to high cardio-vascular disease risk.

While the latest figures for the county show those months saw a 105.7 per cent take up of health check invitations, it is believed the high figure was an anomaly and followed fewer initial invites being sent.

Take up of the health checks in the county had remained less than 50 per cent for the same period over the previous four years.

Public health bosses say the scale of undetected conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure is huge and the checks are cost-effective, preventing illness with the potential to save up to 500 lives a year across England.

As councils strive to improve take up of checks, those in West Yorkshire earlier this year joined a number of places to launch digital at-home health checks, while other authorities are offering the checks in a wide variety of community settings.

Coun Lee said: “I’m concerned we’re missing people and it’s not they don’t take up the offer, they miss it or they don’t know it’s available.”

Richard Webb, the authority’s director of health and adult services, said while it remained unclear as to why some people were not attending health checks, one potential way of improving take up would be to make it about “you being in control of your health and vital signs” rather than facing illnesses.

He said the big debate was over whether they should be universal or targeted, particularly for those at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but added the availability of the checks, with some practices prioritising other areas, also needed to be examined.

Mr Webb said: “I think there is some work we can do jointly with GPs and probably with pharmacists.”

He said the authority’s data suggested travel times for the checks did not appear to be affecting take-up, with the figures for rural North Yorkshire being in line with both national and urban areas.

Mr Webb said the authority was extending some different ways of carrying out health checks, such as blood pressure tests in libraries and workplace testing.

He said: “I think there is value in that. We need to look at workplace health as an option rather than traditional models of people turning up at their GP service.”

1 Comment

  1. Why the question? It is next to impossible to get an in person appointment at Surgeries and so no health checks can be carried out!

    Doctors have become almost invisible since the pandemic. You’re more likely to see an apparition of the Virgin Mary than see a Doctor.

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