It’s a series of simple checks that could help detect health problems in their early stages.
Those eligible for the NHS Health Check do not even have to set themselves a reminder to make an appointment as people aged between 40 and 74 with no known medical problems are automatically invited via a letter through the post. The so-called ‘MOT’ can detect conditions such as heart and kidney disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes.
This early detection can in turn enable medical experts to suggest lifestyle changes and help people maintain their health and independence for longer.
So it is somewhat alarming to discover that thousands of patients in Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire are jeopardising their health and wellbeing for the sake of a few minutes of their time.
Alarming figures show that just 30 per cent of people in Portsmouth invited for the check – which entails a cholesterol test, checking a person’s height, weight, blood pressure and asking lifestyle questions – took up the opportunity.
Hampshire that figure is 40 per cent – but it is still five per cent below the 45 per cent national average and drastically lower than NHS target of 70 per cent.
The majority of people wouldn’t drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike without a clean bill of health in the form of an MOT certificate – so why should our health and wellbeing be any different?
For this reason we are right behind the drive by Portsmouth City and Hampshire County councils to encourage more people to take up the offer of the NHS Health Check when invited.
Those eligible can now book themselves in even if they haven’t received an invitation by post, making the whole process even simpler.
Undergoing these few simple tests may be daunting for some, but health officials in our area, quite rightly, say that they are being offered for valid reasons.
The MOT could help to save lives.
As the adage goes, surely prevention is better than cure?