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Expert panel will assess cost effectiveness of health checks

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 21 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5222
  1. Mark Gould
  1. 1London

An expert panel is to be established to review the effectiveness and value for money of NHS Health Checks, the £300m (€350m; $470m) a year screening programme for 40 to 74 year olds designed to identify and tackle early indicators of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

The announcement by Public Health England comes after repeated calls for the programme to be scrapped because evidence indicated that the checks were a waste of time and money. In a letter to the Times on Tuesday,1 Lasse Krogsbøll and colleagues from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen said that their review published in the BMJ in October last year of 14 trials with a total of over 182 000 participants “could not find any beneficial effects of health checks, whereas they likely lead to unnecessary diagnoses and treatments.”2

They wrote, “Screening healthy people for disease or risk factors is justified only if there is …

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