Major cardiovascular incidents are being reduced thanks to the NHS Health Checks according to the first analysis of the programme run by Public Health England (PHE).
Over the first five years the programme has prevented 2500 cases due to treatment following the Check. In addition, the programme is helping diagnose conditions commonly linked to cardiovascular disease, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.
The study led by Queen Mary’s University in London also found that those from the most deprived areas and black and minority ethnic groups, who are at greatest risk of cardiovascular disease, are more likely to attend an NHS Health Check.
Ceri Jones, head of prevention and behaviour Change at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘These results are a real success story and show the life saving impact that health checks are having in helping people cut their risk of a heart attack or stroke.’
However, this research is based on a 48% annual uptake of the health checks from those who are invited to attend.
‘For the checks to achieve their full potential more still needs to be done by local authorities to encourage people who are offered a Health Check to attend – only around half of people who are offered a Check currently take up the offer,’ said Louise Ansari, director of prevention of Type 2 diabetes at Diabetes UK.
PHE is continuing to work with local authorities to help them deliver the programme more effectively and increase the numbers taking up their NHS Health Check.
The programme, managed by Public Health England (PHE), is the first in the world to tackle prevention of heart attacks and strokes by offering a free Check to every adult aged 40-74 years.