I live in Canada and like most of the contributors to this forum who are in the U.K. we belong to a universal health care system. Our health care costs are paid through our burdensome tax system. As a result, people don't fully understand how much it costs to visit a doctor, have a blood test or to cover an Emergency Room visit. When there is no cost attached to a product or service, demand for that product or service approaches infinity. The result is bureaucratic rationalizing of services and long wait times.
Based on the comments in this forum it appears that the government-covered blood tests for cholesterol screening are being rationed and use 20 year-old standards. Total cholesterol has very limited value in assessing cardiac risk. Non-HDL has limited value as well, as do measures of LDL-C, which are calculated and not directly measured.
The most accurate measure of atherogenic lipids is the LDL-P (particle number). The blood test for this measure is not covered here in Canada and it appears it isn't covered in the U.K. either. This test (VAP) is also difficult to find.
The ApoB measure though is an excellent proxy for the LDL-P value. I believe this test is more widely available.
Some people on this forum have indicated they aren't prepared to spend the money if the government doesn't cover the cost. Does that make any sense? People routinely spend hundreds of pounds annually on mobile phones and other entertainment items, yet won't pay for a blood test that may help save their lives.
The PLAC test a.k.a. LP-PLA2 is a test that measures the amount of vulnerable plaque in your arteries that is subject to rupture. It is this unstable plaque in the arteries that causes heart attacks and stroke, not narrowed arteries (although they contribute to the process). Read the link below:
Between the PLAC test and the measures of atherogenic particles via the Apo B test and the cardio-protective measure of ApoA-1, you can get a more complete picture of the state of your cardiac health.
Other useful tests include Fibrinogen (blood clotting protein) and Homocysteine (amino acid that can damage arterial walls).
Tests may cost some money, but what is more important than your health and your life?