NHS Health Check (professional)

The NHS Health Check is a national programme which aims to prevent heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, and raise awareness of dementia both across the population and within high risk and vulnerable groups. 

Key messages

  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for 1/4 of all premature deaths in the UK and is highly preventable through lifestyle change and clinical management of factors like high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation.
  • Through the NHS Health Check programme around 1,600 heart attacks and strokes per year could be avoided, saving at least 650 lives.
  • The programme could prevent over 4,000 people a year from developing diabetes and detect at least 20,000 cases of diabetes or kidney disease earlier, allowing individuals to be better managed and improve their quality of life.
  • Since 2013, 12 million people in England have been invited for an NHS Health Check and 5.8 million have taken up the offer.
  • Around 339,000 people in Hertfordshire are eligible for an NHS Health Check.

Referral and pathways

The NHS Health Check is offered to everyone aged 40 - 74 every 5 years unless they have already been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease, are on medication for high cholesterol, high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation, or have already been given a QRISK®2 score of 20 or above.

In Hertfordshire, NHS Health Checks are offered through GP practices. If anyone feels they are eligible and haven't received an invitation, they should contact their GP. There are plans to offer NHS Health Checks in other venues in Hertfordshire in the future in order to increase the accessibility of the service.

There are 3 parts to an NHS Health Check:

  1. Risk assessment: including blood pressure, height, weight, Body Mass Index, blood test for cholesterol and blood sugar (for those with a higher risk of diabetes), and questions about lifestyle and family history.
  2. Awareness of risk: a risk score of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years based on the results of the assessment and calculated by the QRISK®2 risk calculator.
  3. Management of risk: discussion of lifestyle choices and possibly signposting to, or referral to, local lifestyle services (e.g. stop smoking service, weight management service). Further follow up by the GP may also be appropriate depending on the results of the risk assessment.

Training

All GP practices have been offered an initial training session run by Hertfordshire Health Improvement Service for their staff who deliver NHS Health Checks. This builds on national Guidance provided by Public Health England.

Campaigns and strategies

The NHS Health Check programme forms part of Public Health England's Action Plan for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention 2017 - 2018.

This document builds upon Cardiovascular disease: getting serious about prevention - GOV.UK (2016).

The NHS Rightcare CVD prevention pathway is being rolled out to every CCG in England.