Operational update - Jamie Waterall, National Lead - NHS Health Check & Blood Pressure Programmes
Earlier this month, PHE was delighted to host its third national NHS Health Check conference. Over 400 people attended the event, allowing us an opportunity to share the latest evidence emerging from national and local research and evaluations. I was thrilled to have been joined by several senior leaders, who all acknowledged the critical role the NHS Health Check is playing in supporting our efforts in ‘getting serious about prevention’. All resources from the event, including a short video, can be found on our programme website.
I know how important the NHS Health Check Best Practice Guidance is for all colleagues involved in this programme. It is essential that we keep this document current, for example, reflecting updates to programme or NICE guidelines. I am therefore pleased to advise you that the guidance has been refreshed and is available on the NHS Health Check website.
We have recently published quarter-three data for 2015-16 and cumulative data for April 2013 to December 2015. Since local authorities inherited the statutory responsibility for making NHS Health Checks available for their local population, we have seen over eight million offers made and almost four million appointments received. This data reveals significant variation in implementation across England, which now needs to be addressed. PHE remains committed to working alongside those areas that need to make improvements to ensure that their local populations benefit from this important public health programme.
Over recent months, the NHS Health Check team has received a number of enquiries questioning if the NHS Health Check needs to be offered to all eligible people in their area. The simple response is yes as this is what is contained within the Public Health Regulations; to support local teams, we have developed and agreed the following position statement with the Department of Health.
- The Local Authorities (Public Health Functions and Entry to Premises by Local Healthwatch Representatives) Regulations state that in the exercise of its functions under section 2B of the Act(1) (functions of local authorities and Secretary of State as to improvement of public health), each local authority shall provide, or shall make arrangements to secure the provision of, health checks to be offered to eligible persons in its area. This requires local authorities to ensure that all eligible persons are offered an NHS Health Check every five years and in accordance to the specified content detailed within the Regulations.
- Although local aithorities are required through the Regulations to make an offer to all eligible people, PHE supports a proportionate universalism approach. This means that local authorities are free to target a greater extent of their resource towards higher risk and vulnerable communities, while keeping a universal offer to all eligible people.
Finally, I want to update you on PHE’s new One You campaign/brand which was launched on 7 March. This is an important development for the NHS Health Check, as it provides us with a brand that will target 40-60 year olds. With similar ambitions to Change4Life, this will provide us with a platform to promote key health and wellbeing interventions to the adult population. This will also provide a platform for national marketing and awareness of the NHS Health Check, which is key in supporting you to increase uptake of your local programmes. We will keep you informed of future developments and do get in touch if you would like more information on One You.