Health MOTs at NHS vaccination services, pharmacies and clinics are set to save thousands of lives, the health service’s Chief Operating Officer announced this week.
Speaking at the NHS Confederation Conference, Amanda Pritchard set out how the health service will make ‘every contact count’ by rolling out opportunities for health checks at times when patients already have other appointments.
The NHS will offer a range of targeted tests including blood pressure, heart-rhythm and cholesterol checks when people drop in for top-up covid jabs or flu vaccinations this autumn.
With one stroke prevented and 37 people with irregular heart rates diagnosed for every 5,000 people offered heart checks at vaccination centres, it is estimated that more than 1,000 strokes could be prevented every year if everyone over 65 was offered an annual heart rhythm check.
NHS Chief Operating Officer, Amanda Pritchard said:
Across the country, pharmacists have been offering on-the-spot high-street heart checks to identify patients at risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke as part of an ongoing pilot – providing clinical and lifestyle advice and, where appropriate, referring patients on to treatment.
In Leeds dentists are offering patients blood pressure and heart rhythm tests to help spot the early signs of heart disease and stroke, all in a 20-minute window. And Croydon’s Vaxi Taxi has been offering blood pressure checks, podiatry services and hepatitis C testing at community vaccination pop-ups for homeless people in London.
Catching major killers such as strokes and heart attacks at an earlier stage is key to the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambitions of saving thousands of lives each year.
Dr Deb Lowe, NHS Clinical Director for Stroke, said:
Prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan. In addition to substantial commitments to tackle obesity, alcohol and smoking, the plan includes the ambition to prevent 150,000 strokes and heart attacks over the next ten years by improving the treatment of high-risk conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation.