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NHS Digital Health Check begins trial to ease pressure on services

The digital service could prevent around 1,600 heart attacks and strokes per year

NHS

A trial of the NHS Digital Health Check, a new, first-of-its-kind check-up service, has been launched in Cornwall, England.

The digital health check has been created as a means of providing people with a convenient and easy testing service, while also alleviating pressure on GPs and frontline services. For those invited to participate in the trial, their input will be key to informing the overall design and development of the digital check-up.

Over 2,000 patients spanning three GP surgeries across Cornwall have been invited onto the trial. Only participants who receive results that have identified an underlying health condition will be provided with a GP follow-up.

The trial comes as part of the Government’s plans to amend the current NHS Health Check through digitisation. The existing NHS Health Check is a check-up service for adults in England aged from 40 to 74 years and has been formed to prevent stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of dementia.

Patients taking part in the trial will complete an online questionnaire, use a kit to take a blood sample at home and will also complete a blood pressure check at their local pharmacy or at their GP’s practice. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the trial aims to apply experience gained during lockdown, when patients completed tests at home and received online test results.

By completing these digital checks, it is estimated that around 1,600 strokes and heart attacks could be prevented, as well as around 650 premature deaths a year. Moreover, approximately 4,000 people per year could be prevented from developing diabetes by using the check-up tool, while around 20,000 cases of diabetes or kidney disease could be detected each year.

Healthcare check-ups have usually taken place in GP’s surgeries as face-to-face appointments, however, given the mounting pressures on frontline health services, the NHS Digital Health Check offers a solution in addressing time constraints for clinicians and healthcare professionals.

Minister for public health Neil O’Brien said: “Innovation is key to a modern, forward-looking National Health Service and this trial will help us understand what a new digital NHS Health Check could look like in the years to come.

“The health check is crucial in preventing and identifying potentially life-threatening conditions, and this digital version will do just that while making patients’ lives easier and reducing pressure on frontline services.”

O’Brien added: “During the pandemic people got used to doing tests at home and getting their results online, so this trial is an opportunity for us to apply some of the lessons we learnt during COVID-19 and improve the way we deliver healthcare.”

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

8th December 2022

From: Healthcare

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