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Drive to boost health checks in England is criticised

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4675 (Published 22 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4675
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

The government is pushing to get more people aged 40 to 74 years to undergo health checks after finding patchy implementation of its policy and uptake rates of around just 50%.

However, specialists in public health are concerned that the checks are ineffective and may lead to unnecessary tests and treatment.

John Middleton, vice president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, told the BMJ that the “jury is still out on health checks.” He added, “This is a route through which people are being foisted with unnecessary tests and private sector involvement.”

He said that plain packaging of tobacco products, a minimum price on a unit of alcohol, a sugar tax, and standards for school meals were all very low cost policies that the government could have adopted instead of health checks and that their benefits would have been seen across “a very wide population.”

The Labour government introduced health checks in …

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