NHS Health Check eBulletin

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Foreword by Dr Rosemary Leonard, media medic and GP

Dr Rosemary Leonard

I’m sure many of you saw the news coverage of a new analysis done by Diabetes UK highlighting that the number of people living with type 1 and 2 diabetes has soared by 59.8% in a decade.

Recent data showing a decline in sport and physical activity and our ever increasing appetite for fatty and sugary diets means that this should come as no surprise. Expanding British waistlines are driving type 2 diabetes, and as a GP I’m acutely aware of the impact that managing and treating diabetes has not just on the individual but the NHS.

This is only part of the picture. Much of the pressure on primary care arises from the management of preventable diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart attack and strokes. This is why I’m a strong advocate for the NHS Health Check programme.

England’s commitment to preventing disease through this programme is world leading. It is clear that the hard work of commissioners, providers and the NHS has contributed to the significant progress that has been made since 2009. What’s more this month we’ve seen over three million people have a check in the last two years, fantastic news. The Health Check has also played a significant role in diagnosing ‘new’ diabetics. This is vital, as the earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment is started, the greater the chance of a person avoiding long-term complications.

By tackling the top seven risk factors the programme offers such huge potential to impact on the epidemic of non-communicable disease. So we need to make sure that as many people as possible are having a high quality check. This is no easy task, but together I’m sure that this is something the NHS and local authorities can achieve.  

Operational update by Jamie Waterall, national lead - NHS Health Check & Blood Pressure programmes

Jamie Waterall - May 2014

Yesterday we published the offer and uptake results for April to June 2015 and cumulative data from April 2013 to June 2015. It is encouraging to see that the number of people receiving their check continues to increase and that over three million people have now received an NHS Health Check since local authorities became responsible for commissioning the programme.

Earlier this month, I provided an interview to the National Health Executive, which reflected on the current implementation of the NHS Health Check across England. This provided me with an opportunity to congratulate colleagues involved in this world-leading prevention programme. We continue to see improvements in coverage and the number of checks being delivered, with an additional 100,000 checks provided last year compared to 2013-14. We all accept that we need to continue to focus our efforts on increasing uptake, particularly towards those at greatest risk. In addition, further work is required to ensure the quality and consistency of the checks and the lifestyle and clinical interventions which should follow. However, colleagues involved in the programme should be proud of their achievements to date.  

Last year we committed to supporting local implementation of the NHS Health Check by creating a behavioural insight network. This provides an opportunity for our behavioural scientists and local delivery teams to test out various approaches to increasing the uptake and the quality of the NHS Health Check. Given the tremendous learning from two of these studies, which have taken place in Medway and Southwark, we have decided to update the national invitation template letter. I would encourage you to review the results of these studies and for commissioners to consider implementing the learning from these studies to their local setting. Further information can be found on our NHS Health Check website.

Finally, we have announced the date of our next national conference, which will take place on 1 March 2016 in London. We have now called for poster/presentation abstracts, so I would encourage those directly involved in commissioning, delivery and research and evaluation to submit your entry by 2 October. We would also welcome your view on what you would like to get from this year’s event through our poll.


National Conference 2016 – abstract applications now open

The NHS Health Check 2016: Getting Serious About Prevention conference is now accepting abstract applications for educational posters and oral presentations. The conference programme will include a poster competition and 12 workshops.

Successful abstracts will be invited to display their posters in the marketplace or deliver their oral presentations in one of the 12 workshops. Find out more and how to submit an abstract here.

The deadline for applications is 17:00 Friday 2 October.

The conference takes place on 1 March 2016 at the Kia Oval, London.


NHS Health Check service directory update

The NHS Health Check service directory was launched a year ago on NHS Choices. It is one of Public Health England’s key supports for the programme as set out in Department of Health’s ‘Living well for longer: national support for local action to reduce premature avoidable mortality’.

The successful launch included 125 local authorities, opting-in to have a service profile detailing their local NHS Health Check programme. Every month an average of 6,000 searches are completed by members of the public looking to find out how they can access their local NHS Health Check service.

This national campaign provides an excellent route to increase population awareness and engagement on local NHS Health Check services. It is therefore important for commissioners to ensure their local authority profile data is correct and reflects their current service. You can search for your local authority profile here.

Can’t find your local authority profile?

The service directory has 80% local authority coverage, so it is likely your local authority has not yet opted-in. Commissioners can opt-in or request further information by email to nhshealthchecks.mailbox@phe.gov.uk

Need to update your local authority profile?

Commissioners have the opportunity to update their local authority profile every month by email to nhshealthchecks.mailbox@phe.gov.uk .

If you are a provider of a local NHS Health Check service and would like to be included in the directory, please speak to your commissioner.

Reaching out to local communities in the South West

Increasing uptake of NHS Health Check services is a challenge in the South West, but local authorities are responding with innovative work.

In Bristol the local authority wants to prioritise resources where the need is greatest. One successful outreach was to the Sikh community. A local GP surgery team visited the Fishponds Gurudwara during a Sunday service when Dilawer Singh, a local NHS Health Check champion, invited people to have a check. Such events will continue to roll out in the city, targeting 40 to 74 year olds in communities at risk.

In Bath, NHS Health Check services were delivered in a local print business by a neighbouring GP surgery. The number of employees who took up the offer was 73, mainly male. Over half had a BMI over 25, 22% had raised blood pressure and 5% had CVD risk of 20%. A three-month follow up indicated that 63% had ‘learnt something new’ and 69% had changed their behaviour. Stated motivation for having a NHS Health Check was ‘to reassure myself about my health’ (62%) and ‘more convenient than going to my GP’ (50%).

In Swindon the local public health team has used MOSAIC to gain an insight into where it should target initiatives. It looked at MOSAIC types who would be eligible for a NHS Health Check, at high risk of CVD but would not normally access services. Three types emerged:

  • self-supporters
  • low income workers
  • high-rise tenants

Swindon is now promoting NHS Health Check services to housing providers and offering checks at council-owned high-rise blocks. It also intends to target local job agencies.

For more information contact Rosanne Sodzi, public health support manager, PHE South West rosanne.sodzi@phe.gov.uk

Webinars open for registration

Register your interest in attending specific webinars by completing this form

Getting the most from social media, Friday 11 September 11:00-12:00

After a popular webinar earlier this year Sam Spindlow, Public Health England’s social media manager is back to share his knowledge on using social media to promote and engage your audience. This is a repeat of the March social marketing webinar.

Chair: Katherine Thompson, PHE


Social marketing: an example from Lancashire County Council, Friday 25 September 10:00-11:00

Join Ginette Unsworth communications director at Lancashire County Council to find out more about how social marketing was used to increase uptake. This presentation is a repeat of one of our conference workshops.

Chair: Louise Cleaver, PHE


Delivering NHS Health Checks in the Workplace: learning from Enfield Council, Tuesday 29 September 12:45-13:45

Find out how Enfield Council delivered NHS Health Checks in the workplace and what it achieved.

Chair: Nicholas Collins, NHS IQ


Can heart age increase NHS Health Check uptake? Delivering a randomised control trial in the London Borough of Bromley, Tuesday 13 October 10:00- 11:00

Mark Cobain and Gillian Fiumicelli share their experience of running an RCT (randomised control trial) in busy GP practices and the findings of their work to use heart age as a way of increasing take up.

Chair: Bianca Blom, PHE


Implementing the NHS Health Check workforce competence framework Wednesday 21 October 15:30-16:30

Learn how Halton Borough Council has implemented the NHS Health Check workforce competence framework with special guest speaker Ifeoma Onyia, Halton Borough Council.

Chair: Rosanne Sodzi, PHE


Targeting high risk groups: learning from Camden and Islington, Thursday 22 October 12:30-13:30

Find out how Camden and Islington public health engaged underserved populations by targeting high-risk groups to deliver the NHS Health Check programme.

Chair: Nicholas Collins, NHS IQ


Digital opportunities: NHS Choices Heart Age calculator, Tuesday 10 November 10:00-11:00

Find out how the heart age tool was developed, who has been using it, the next steps in its development and implications for the NHS Health Check programme.

Chair: Bianca Blom, PHE


Can telephone outreach increase take up: findings from Bristol's evaluation, Wednesday 18 November 16:00 – 17:00

Find out more about work in Bristol to use outreach staff to invite people to NHS Health Check appointments by phone and the impact that has had on take up. We will be joined by special guests Amanda Chappel from Bristol council and Dr Nikki Coghill from Bristol university.

Chair: Katherine Thompson, PHE


Behavioural insight evidence round-up, Monday 23 November 15:00-16:00

Tim Chadborn from PHE’s behavioural insight will share recent findings from Public Health England NHS Health Check studies and the broader literature.

Chair: Katherine Thompson


Resources for Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) and update on NHS Health Check data standard

SNOMED CT is a comprehensive clinical terminology to support recording of clinical information, in a way that helps data management and analysis to support patient care while enabling data extraction and data exchange.

In healthcare, the requirements for coding are extensive. SNOMED CT provides a comprehensive set of such clinical phrases or terms, this is called a terminology. SNOMED CT is more than just a set of clinical phrases, for example, it also includes groups with relationships between terms.

SNOMED CT has been selected and approved as the terminology to be adopted by the NHS in England. It is the most comprehensive international terminology currently available and can be used across all care settings and all clinical domains.

Health & Social Care Information Centre has resources to help support the work you are doing on SNOMED CT. Click here to find out about the training sessions, resources and forums. More information on SNOMED CT can be found here.

The national NHS Health Check team is working towards securing a data standard to support national data extraction for the NHS Health Check programme. This work will enable the NHS Health Check programme to add evidence to the prevention agenda seeking to reduce non-communicable diseases.


Heart UK NHS Health Check awards

Following on from the success of last year’s HEART UK NHS Health Check awards, we are pleased to announce these will take place again this year. This event will bring together key health care professionals (NHS Health Check providers and commissioners, primary care, pharmacies and CCGs) to share experiences, insights and latest developments in the NHS Health Check arena. The awards will be open to all individuals, teams and organisations involved in commissioning and delivering NHS Health Check.

Nominations are sought from those in healthcare, local government, academic and commercial settings signifying the importance of all involved in the NHS Health Check programme.

Award categories:

Most improved service delivery

Best impact on patient experience

Team/group of the year

Most improved patient outcomes

General practice team of the year

Most innovative project

Submit your entries by Friday 18 September 2015

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