HEALTH AND CARE: Thousands missing out on health checks

Most people between the ages of 40 and 74 are eligible for a free health check
Most people between the ages of 40 and 74 are eligible for a free health check

Local doctors are urging people not to miss out on free NHS Health Checks.

In the last three months, 7866 people were offered an appointment but only 2780 booked one with their local GP or health team – that is roughly one in three.

The figures are similar for last year – 34 per cent of those offered an appointment actually attended.

Free NHS Health Checks help people to stay healthy and reduce the risk of people developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease or dementia.

They involve a few simple tests which can spot early signs and help prevent these happening to you, which means you’ll be more likely to enjoy life for longer.

Most people between the ages of 40 and 74 are eligible. West Sussex resident Barry said the check led to a new lease of life for him as he took control of his health and wellbeing.

It involved questions about lifestyle such as smoking, Body Mass Index (BMI), exercise and alcohol intake. It also included a blood pressure check and a simple finger blood test for cholesterol.

The health check took about 30 to 45 minutes and was carried out at his GP surgery.

Barry, 58, said: “I thought it would be good to take up this check as I did not know my blood pressure or cholesterol.”

It identified that Barry’s cholesterol was a bit high, and this prompted him to join a local gym.

He said: “I never thought I would join a gym but I try to attend at least three times a week now.”

He has been working to reduce his cholesterol with healthy spreads and drinks as well as improve his fitness over the past nine months and has seen great improvements.

He added: “The most important part for me was the finger blood test for cholesterol, which has been coming down and is now at 4.5 from 6.3, which is really good. If your GP surgery is offering these health checks it is definitely worth having especially if you have not had an occasion to visit your doctor.”

NHS Health Checks are also available on request at many pharmacies or you can book onto one of the community clinics held around the county.

For more information visit www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk/healthchecks

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