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More than half of Warrington’s residents fail to take up free NHS health check

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WARRINGTON has been labelled one of the least proactive when it comes to health following a report which shows less than half those eligible took up free NHS health MOTs.

With the current NHS Health Check scheme set to be “scrapped” a report by Medicspot revealed only 46% of eligible people had participated in the scheme, although Warrington Council say they are ranked 58th best out of 152 areas – but admit they could do better.

The report compares regional NHS data on the utilisation of Health Checks, a free service offered by the NHS to everyone aged 40–74 to prevent premature death from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

Warrington was named in the report as among the least proactive places in England when it comes to health due to the low number of people who took part in the scheme over the last five years.

The government announced it plans to replace the scheme with a digital version that makes use of technology to save people needing to book face-to-face appointments with their GP.

Out of the 63,648 eligible people in Warrington, all were offered a free NHS Health Check between 2014 and 2019.

Despite this, only 46% of those eligible in the town received a Health Check. For comparison, as many as 88% of the eligible population in Bolton received a Health Check within the same period.

Dr Johnson D’souza, Medical Director and GP at Medicspot, advised: “People aged 40–74 who don’t get a Health Check every five years are at an increased risk of undetected cardiovascular disease.”

“By checking your blood pressure, lifestyle, family history, height and weight, we can get an idea of your risk of getting certain illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes,” explains D’souza.

“It is very worrying that only 46% of people who were eligible for a free NHS Health Check in Warrington took up the offer,” says D’souza.

In June, researchers revealed free NHS checks reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study found that over a six-year period, participants of the Health Check programme had lost weight, lowered blood pressure and fewer were smokers.

Officials are yet to provide precise details of what the revamped Health Checks will look like in Warrington, but they said they would harness ‘the latest technology, techniques, and data’ and would include factors ‘that could include their age, where they live and their DNA’ to personalise health checks.

Despite the planned overhaul, people in Warrington who are aged 40–70 can still get a Health Check from their GP or pharmacist. This would usually involve receiving a letter from your GP or local authority to invite you for a Health Check. However, you can also request one yourself by contacting Warrington Council for more information.

But a Warrington Borough Council spokesperson said: “NHS Health Checks are not being scrapped either in Warrington or the rest of England. The Department of Health and Social Care will shortly be launching a national review into the programme, aimed at making it more effective.

While this review is taking place, NHS Health Checks will continue in Warrington under the current model.

“Around 46% of Warrington’s eligible population received a NHS Health Check between 2014 and 2019. As a result, the borough is ranked as the 58th best performing Local Authority out of a total of 152 areas. We are certainly not among the ‘least proactive places in England when it comes to health’.

“We do however recognise that we can improve further and we are looking at a number of ways to increase the uptake including further training for staff in GP Practices, community based provision of NHS Health Checks, and further awareness raising campaigns.

“We would very much like to encourage local residents to take up the offer of the NHS Health Check and they can contact their GP directly to request one.”

“There are a range of other services available locally to support people to look after their own health and wellbeing. To find out more details please access My Life Warrington at www.mylifewarrington.co.uk

Meanwhile the full Medicspot report can be read here https://www.medicspot.co.uk/

* Medicspot was new service launched in 2018 which functions as an online video-linked GP service. The GPs work remotely providing pre-booked video consultations with patients who are based in a private clinical station in their selected pharmacy.

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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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