Use it or lose it.
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.
“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.
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