Study probes effect of NHS Health Checks

"Health MOTs routinely offered to over-40s on the NHS may be a waste of time," the Mail Online reported.

The report says researchers have found no difference in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes in GP practices that offer NHS Health Checks and those that don't.

NHS Health Checks were introduced in 2009 and are designed to act as a midlife "MOT" (as the Mail describes it).

This study compared GP practices in Warwickshire that implemented NHS Health checks between 2010 and 2013 with those that did not.

They looked at whether the checks increased numbers of diagnoses of five chronic conditions: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and heart rhythm abnormality (atrial fibrillation).

Changes in the number of cases of these five chronic diseases were very small and there was no significant difference between practices with or without checks. But the study did not recruit a large enough sample to be able to reliably detect differences.

The study period was also quite short. Proponents of the NHS Health Check argue any benefits may not be noticeable for a decade.

The study has not been able to examine other health benefits that may result from the checks. For example, it could be the case some people who attend a health check receive lifestyle advice that could help prevent the future development of chronic disease.

Overall, further research in larger samples and over longer time periods is needed to examine whether the NHS Health Checks are of any benefit in improving the detection of chronic disease, or have any other beneficial health outcomes.

What do you think? Read the full story on the NHS Choices News site:

6 Replies

  • Hi,

    You have not mentioned cholesterol or medication for reducing cholesterol!.

    Is there any study going on in statin medication to lower cholesterol?

  • It has been a massive waste of time and money. It will continue to be a massive waste of time and money. Any 'impact' is short-lived and therefore never worthwhile. It will never work if the NHS does not explain all the facts behind the tests, including the risks associated with screening people with no symptons only to discover 'risk' and offer treatments.

  • nurse not for blood ?

  • worry to do that

  • nurse draw blood I fain -pass out

  • I think the Mail has a vested interest in writing provocative and dramatic stories because they sell newspapers.

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