THE number of people taking up a free health ‘MoT’ has increased following a campaign backed by The News.
The NHS Health Check is a free test offered to people aged between 40 and 74, who do not have a known medical problem.
While the government target is for 70 per cent of people to take up the invitation, in Portsmouth this figure stood at 30 per cent – the fifth worst in the country.
But now the public health team in Portsmouth says thanks to a campaign with GPs and pharmacies, which was supported by The News, this has now risen to 42 per cent.
Health Check manager Amanda McKenzie said: ‘Portsmouth City Council’s public health team has worked very hard to raise awareness and increase the availability of the checks to eligible residents across the city.
‘Participating GP practices and pharmacies have played a pivotal role in providing appointments to those residents who are keen to look after their health, and The News played a big role with the coverage it gave.
‘We hope this increase in uptake continues across the city and we support as many residents as possible in accessing their NHS Health Check and help them to make changes to become healthier and happier.’
The check was introduced in 2009 and involves taking a person’s height and weight, blood pressure, checking cholesterol levels and asking lifestyle questions.
If these factors are measured early and there are any problems, then advice on lifestyle changes or medication can be given to prevent or delay this turning into bigger problems.
Public Health England believe these measures could prevent 1,600 heart attacks a year, stop more than 4,000 people from developing diabetes and detect at least 20,000 cases of diabetes or kidney disease earlier.
Patient finds health check easy to have
WHEN Phil Rennie received his letter inviting him for an NHS Health Check he was unsure about whether to take it up.
The 40-year-old of Powerscourt Road in North End, said: ‘It took some external motivating to do it but once I’d made the decision, things couldn’t have progressed any more easily. I was offered an appointment within a week of booking.
‘It was very simple, confirming I was healthy, proceeding to discussions around my lifestyle, alcohol intake and weight check carried out in a pleasant, sensitive manner.’