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GPs must redesign Health Check programme if they want it to work, conference hears

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3888 (Published 20 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3888
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Health checks on all people over 40 in GP surgeries can work—but only if they are redesigned and locally driven, a Westminster Health Forum heard on 16 July.

The Health Check programme, first introduced in 2009 when Gordon Brown was prime minister, has been widely criticised as a waste of GPs’ time, and in May this year the Royal College of General Practitioners called for it to be discontinued until robust evidence of its effectiveness is available.

Azhar Farooqi, co-chair of the Leicester City clinical commissioning group (CCG), told the London meeting that Health Checks, as originally conceived, did not work.

“Uptake was very low, with only 8% of practices achieving targets,” he said. “More than a quarter of GP surgeries failed to do any checks at all, and for every six invitations mailed to those aged over 40, only one turned up for the check. In Leicester our uptake was really low.” …

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