PEOPLE are putting their lives at risk by failing to take advantage of free health checks.
Public Health England (PHE) ranked Warwickshire 147 out of 152 areas in the country for people taking up the offer of a check, which is designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes and dementia in those between ages 40 and 74.
PHE say prevention is the best way to deal with these illnesses and urge people to take up the offer of a free check.
A spokesman said: “Heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer and pulmonary disease remain the top causes of death and disability in England and place a considerable strain on the NHS.
“Prevention is clearly the way forward. Reducing this breadth of risk factors offers the opportunity to reduce the burden of early deaths and illness from leading diseases, achieving a considerable health gain across the population and relieving pressure on the NHS. Such benefits are recognised by both NHS England and Public Health England who make it clear that the system must ‘get serious about prevention’.
“We know that more people could benefit from the check and we are working with local teams to deliver the best possible service.”
But Warwickshire County Council say despite the poor number of people accepting the healthcare MOTs, it is one of the best for offering them.
The ratings – which cover the past four years – mean just three in ten of those invited for a check-up accepted the offer.
In comparison everyone who was offered the check in nearby Leicestershire accepted it.
A council spokeswoman told the Observer: “More than 90 per cent of our eligible population have been invited to attend a free NHS Health Check over the last five years. The aim of the latest health checks campaign in Warwickshire is to encourage these people to take up the offer and attend a health check at their local doctors surgery.”
Since the start of the checks in 2013, nearly 2,500 have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and some 800 with diabetes.
With risk of developing conditions developing more in later life, the council aim to catch illnesses before they become severe.
And South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees GP practices, is urging residents to take up the offer of a check.
A spokeswoman said: “We take our car for an MOT every year, but it’s important to have a regular Health MOT too. A health check is a vital opportunity to make sure patients don’t have any underlying problems which could impact on their health. 2Taking a health check could help patients enjoy a longer and healthier life. Some people may be worried about taking the health check, but the aim is to prevent illness and a few minutes spent on your health now could add years to your life.
“Checks take around 20 minutes and focus on preventing major causes of illness. These conditions are often avoidable and manageable and a health check can help identify them before they become a problem. Where a check does highlight any potential problems, patients are offered plenty of advice and support to help address them. So, if you receive an invitation from your GP then do not miss the opportunity to take it up.”
Free checks can been booked at GP surgeries.
Visit youronething.co.uk/healthchecks to find out more.