A digital NHS health check intended to deliver 1 million checks will be rolled out alongside existing services from spring 2024, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced today (29 June).
Each digital check could save around 20 minutes of NHS time, the DHSC estimated, with the potential to free up thousands of primary care appointments.
Currently, around 1.3 million health checks are delivered each year – largely through GP surgeries – identifying 315,000 people living with obesity and 33,000 cases of hypertension, and preventing more than 400 heart attacks and strokes.
The new service will operate alongside the existing in-person service for adults in England aged 40 to 74, and is expected to provide an additional 1 million checks over a four year period.
Health secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘Thousands of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented every year through simple health checks, which would save lives and ease pressure on the NHS.
‘This new digital check-up will mean people can do simple tests and get tailored advice from homes while reducing pressure on GP services.’
Patients will complete an online questionnaire, enter their height, weight and blood pressure measurements, and the results of a blood test.
The results will be available online, with patients then offered personalised advice to reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke, alongside advice to stop smoking and manage weight where appropriate.
GP referrals will only be made if further tests and treatment are needed.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘This initiative will help to reach more people and encourage them to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked so that, where necessary, healthcare professionals can work with them to manage their condition.
‘This could play an important role in helping people live healthier for longer and saving lives in the coming years, while reducing pressure on the NHS.’