William Eichler 16 August 2019

NHS Health Checks to be ‘modernised’, health secretary says

NHS Health Checks to be ‘modernised’, health secretary says image

Health secretary Matt Hancock has launched a review of NHS Health Checks with the aim of moving away from standardised checks towards more tailored programmes.

Commissioned by local authorities, Health Checks are offered to 14 million people aged between 40-74 and help catch preventable illnesses before they escalate.

Over the last five years, these NHS-delivered checks have identified over 700,000 people at high risk of cardiovascular disease. They also save an estimated 500 lives each year.

The review will explore new intelligent, predictive NHS Health Checks, which take age, risk factors and preferences into account, with the aim of developing programmes that can be tailored to individual circumstances.

‘Personalised, preventative healthcare is mission critical to the future-fit healthcare service we want to build. We must harness the latest technology and techniques to move away from the one-size-fits-all approach of the past,’ said Mr Hancock.

‘The review we are announcing today will be an important step towards achieving that, helping us to find data-led, evidenced based ways to support people to spot, manage and prevent risks to their health through targeted intervention.’

Duncan Selbie, the chief executive of Public Health England, described the announcement as ‘a great opportunity’ to improve Health Checks.

The chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, also welcomed the launch of the review, although he warned that Government cuts were undermining preventative health measures.

‘We are pleased this review proposes a move to more tailored health checks,’ he said.

‘However, councils have seen cuts of £700m to their public health funding over the last five years which has impacted on their ability to continue the good work they have been doing.

‘This is why we want the Government to reverse these cuts in the upcoming Spending Round and invest in prevention to not only improve the health and quality of life of people but also reduce the burden on council services and the NHS.’?

A perfect storm for care homes image

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