People in Harrow could be at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new report by Medicspot.
The report compares regional NHS data on the utilisation of Health Checks, a free service offered by the NHS to everyone aged 40–74 to prevent premature death from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.
The report comes after research revealed free NHS checks reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study found that over a six-year period, participants of the Health Check programme had lost weight, lowered blood pressure and fewer were smokers.
Lead researcher Samah Alageel said: “These results show the NHS Health Check programme carries a potential for reducing cardiovascular risk through the early assessment and management of risk.” Despite this, only 20% of the 67,319 eligible people in Harrow have claimed their free NHS Health Check – the fifth-lowest uptake in England, after North East Lincolnshire in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Dr Johnson D’souza, Medical Director and GP at Medicspot, advised: “People aged 40–74 who don’t get a Health Check every 5 years are at an increased risk of undetected cardiovascular disease.” “By checking your blood pressure, lifestyle, family history, height and weight, we can get an idea of your risk of getting certain illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes,” explains D’souza.
“It is very worrying that only 20% of people who are eligible for a free NHS Health Check in Harrow have taken up the offer. This is significantly below the national average of 43%,” says D’souza.
It is possible that many people in Harrow are not aware that this service is available to them. The report shows only 20% of the 67,319 people who are eligible for a free NHS Health Check were offered one from 2018–2019.
In other areas of London such as Lambeth, as many as 108,316 people were offered a free NHS Health Check. People in Harrow who are aged 40–74 can get a free NHS Health Check from their GP or local pharmacy.
You would normally receive a letter from your GP or local authority inviting you for a health check every five years. However, you can also request one yourself by asking your GP or contacting Harrow Council directly to find out how you can get one.
Harrow ranks fifth-worst in England
Only 20%% of people eligible for a free NHS health check in Harrow have received an appointment between 2014–2019.
East Riding of Yorkshire – 14%
Bournemouth – 16%
Croydon – 19%
North East Lincolnshire – 20%
Harrow – 20%
Cornwall – 21%
York – 21%
Newcastle upon Tyne – 21%
Surrey – 22%
Wokingham – 23%
The full report from Medicspot is available here.