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NHS health checks

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced that everyone aged between 40 and 74 years old in England will be invited for a free health check

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced that everyone aged between 40 and 74 years old in England will be invited for a free health check. The move is an attempt to tackle health inequalities by providing information to those at risk of developing conditions like diabetes and coronary heart disease, so that they can make lifestyle changes. 

People will be asked about their diet, exercise habits and family medical history. Height and weight will be recorded and a blood test to establish cholesterol levels and, in some cases, glucose levels will be carried out.

The checks will be followed up with a personal assessment with recommendations about how risk levels can be reduced through weight-management programmes, smoking cessation and physical activity. According to Health Secretary Alan Johnson they could save 650 lives a year.

Betty McBride, Director of Policy and Communications at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We urge people to grab this check-up with both hands if it comes their way. Don't let the first time you realise you have heart disease be at the start of a 999 call."

Primary Care Trusts will be expected to implement the plans and some concerns have been raised about resources, given the 3.6 per cent fall in the number of practice nurses reported by the NHS Information Centre this week. 

The checks are being rolled out across the country but will not be fully implemented until 2012/13.

31st March 2009

From: Healthcare

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