NHS Health Checks are offered to everyone between the ages of 40 years and 74 years to assess their risk of a number of common health problems. They were introduced with little evidence to show they could successfully identify individuals at risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) or with undiagnosed CVD, diabetes, hypertension or chronic kidney disease.
Researchers compared prevalence data for the targeted conditions over three years from 38 general practices in Warwickshire providing NHS Health Checks with 41 practices that did not.
A total of 1,142 previously undiagnosed cases of the targeted diseases were detected from 16,669 NHS Health Checks. However, there was no statistical difference between the change in disease prevalence in practices providing the checks and the control practices.
Writing in the British Journal of General Practice (online, 1 August 2014), the researchers conclude that the health checks programme may not be any better than usual GP practice care in increasing the reported prevalence of the diseases they were designed to target.