Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responds to NHS Health Check figures published today by Public Health England, which marks the end of the first five-year cycle of the programme.
“Councils have done a tremendous job in inviting more than 14 million eligible people to have a check over the last five years, of which 6.8 million have taken up the offer.
“There is robust evidence that tackling both lifestyle and clinical risk factors is an effective method of preventing or reducing avoidable ill health. The NHS health check provides several crucial means of addressing this, by identifying leading risk factors across populations, helping individuals understand their personal risk profile, and offering the opportunity to detect risk factors early.
“However, if we are to continue to tackle or delay avoidable ill health such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in England, it is vital that eligible people get checked in order to increase uptake rates.
“This will not only help people live healthier lives for longer, by identifying undetected risk factors and targeting high risk groups, but also reduce huge pressures and costs on the NHS, social care and councils’ public health services, as well as wider society.
“To maximise the potential of the next next five-year programme cycle and reduce the variation in the number of offers and uptake across the country, it is vital that the joined-up work between councils and the NHS is strengthened.
“However, all of this good work could be lost unless government reverses the £600 million reduction in councils’ public health budgets between 2015 and 2020.”