The Midlife Health Checkup with a GP, designed to detect some of the most common conditions that affect people as they age, will move online at England according to the plans announced by the ministers.
A pilot scheme is underway in Cornwall, and health officials say they hope to capitalize on people’s increased familiarity with self-testing and online reporting since the emergence of Covid, in an attempt to ease the burden on the National Health Service. But while some patient groups welcomed the move, they said home testing wouldn’t be for everyone.
The NHS health check is designed to detect early signs of stroke, kidney disease and heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes and some types of dementia in people aged 40 to 74.
The free check for people over 50, usually in the form of a GP appointment, is available to some 15 million people in England, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), he said.
Under the scheme, more than 2,000 people from three GP surgeries in Cornwall are being invited to carry out part of the assessment themselves, with only those whose results indicate an underlying health condition will be followed up by their GP.
Health officials hope this will mean fewer appointments are needed with GPs, giving them more time to focus on other patients. “The results of the trial will help inform the design and development of the NHS’s new national digital health check,” the DHSC said.
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, President of the Royal College of GPs, said: “This initiative has the potential to encourage people to take a more active interest in their own health.”
She said the times: “We hope to see a robust evaluation of this initiative, before further decisions are made to implement it more widely,” adding that this should include how checks are linked to GP records and how symptoms or complaints are managed. recommended lifestyle changes.
“You should also address concerns about possibly causing unnecessary worry to patients who may not know how to interpret your findings, practice staff implications regarding test performance, interpretation, and explanation, and additions to the burden of family doctor’s job.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK charity director, told the newspaper: “Digitally enabled health checks by themselves will be fine for some people, but they won’t work for everyone, especially if they’re not online. Therefore, it is important that anyone who wants a face-to-face appointment with a practice nurse or other doctor for this purpose can still get one.
“It is well known that many of us are left with easily treatable but undiagnosed conditions such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, which are potentially a significant risk to our health. We therefore urge any older person offered a health check to take it up, especially if they are lucky enough not to have needed NHS help very often recently, if at all.”
Neil O’Brien, the public health minister, said: “Health screening is crucial to prevent and identify life-threatening conditions, and this digital version will do just that while making life easier for patients and reducing pressure on frontline services.
“During the pandemic, people have gotten used to testing at home and getting their results online, so this trial is an opportunity for us to apply some of the lessons we learned during Covid and improve the way we deliver healthcare.” .