Warrington Borough Council is urging eligible residents to make sure they go and get a free NHS health check, after new research proves they are preventing serious illness.
The first major evaluation of the NHS health check programme in England, carried out by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in 2016, reveals that health checks have prevented thousands of heart attacks and strokes.
Since local authorities took over responsibility for public health in April 2013, more than five million people in England have had an NHS health check – with 23,699 taking up the offer in Warrington.
Regular health checks – commissioned by the council as part of our public health duties – are saving lives across the town by identifying early signs of potentially life-threatening conditions.
The programme offers free advice to people aged between 40 and 74 to help delay or prevent conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some cancers and dementia.
The recent review by QMUL suggests that 4,600 to 8,400 heart attacks, strokes or deaths can be prevented nationally in five years as a result of people taking up the offer of the health check, and reducing their cholesterol levels with statins.
The review also revealed an increase in diagnosis of 30 per cent in new cases of diabetes, 50 per cent in new cases of hypertension and 80 per cent in new cases of chronic kidney disease in people who had an NHS health check, compared to those who had not.
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin , executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “This is really good news for Warrington people. Health checks are having a positive impact. If we can identify potentially serious illnesses at an early stage, we are then able to start appropriate treatment that can prevent them getting worse, and even save lives. I urge all those who are eligible to make sure you go for your health check when notified.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the national Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “The evidence is clear, health checks can save lives and prevent people from developing life-threatening conditions. The programme has meant that people who would have otherwise been undiagnosed have been able to take life changing steps to improve their health and wellbeing. It’s really important we get as many people as possible to book in with their doctor and have a check.”