Only 19% of eligible Croydon residents took Health Checks

Use it or lose it.

And it appears that Croydon residents are about to lose their access to the NHS Health Check, after fewer than 1-in-5 of eligible people participated in the scheme.

That’s according to a report from Medicspot, the largest provider of GP clinics in the country.

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

Croydon 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 has announced that it intends 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 – clearly a cheaper scheme which does not involve the use of costly things such as… trained medical professionals.

According to the Medicspot report, of the 106,039 eligible people in Croydon, 55 per cent were offered a free NHS Health Check between 2014 and 2019. Only 19 per cent of those eligible received a Health Check. For comparison, as many as 88 per cent of the eligible population in Bolton received a Health Check within the same period.

Dr Johnson D’souza, medical director and GP at Medicspot, said: “People aged 40 to 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.

“It is very worrying that only 19 per cent of people who were eligible for a free NHS Health Check in Croydon took up the offer,” Dr D’souza said.

In June, a 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 Croydon, 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. We can probably expect online forms that churn data through algorithms to come up with various probabilities, but will not be anything like a proper healthcheck conducted by an experienced GP.

Despite the planned overhaul, Croydon residents in the right age range for now 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 Croydon Council for more information.

You can view the full report here.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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2 Responses to Only 19% of eligible Croydon residents took Health Checks

  1. Christine Sales says:

    I was pleased to be invited to a Health Check.

    I am a carer and also disabled, so requested to receive an appointment at a surgery not an hour’s journey both ways plus time there. Am still waiting a response.

    Perhaps this is the reason no one could have checks. Spoken to others who were also referred to surgeries outside their areas.

  2. I’ve asked around extensively and can’t find anybody at all who’s been invited for a health check. I certainly haven’t. No wonder there’s such a low take-up.

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