NHS Health Check eBulletin

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Foreword by Martin Tod, Chief Executive, Men's Health Forum

Martin Tod, Men\'s Health Forum

Martin Tod, Chief Executive, Men's Health Forum

Making NHS Health Checks work for men

Today, one UK man in five dies before the age of 65. Three-quarters of premature deaths from heart disease and two-thirds of premature deaths from diabetes occur among men.

At the Men’s Health Forum, we strongly support the NHS Health Check as a way of reducing these unnecessary and avoidable deaths.

There are big challenges. Men make up the majority of those who could benefit from NHS Health Checks, but are less likely to attend. This means that men end up being in the minority of those who receive an NHS Health Check.

Earlier this year, we surveyed 718 working age men over 40 across England to understand their awareness of NHS Health Checks.

This revealed a clear part of the problem: men don’t know about them. Even when prompted, only 22% of respondents said they had heard of NHS Health Checks. Only 14% said they had been invited, yet 81% of those invited said they’d attended.

These figures are so different from invitation rates amongst men reported by local authorities that it suggests that many men have no idea that they’ve ever been invited. Communication just isn’t getting through.

Our research also showed work is a barrier. More men work full-time, and many men won’t take time off work even for serious medical symptoms, let alone to be checked for conditions with few physical symptoms. The challenge for NHS Health Checks is therefore even greater.

None of these problems are insurmountable. So, what can be done?

First, it is essential that local authorities track their performance amongst men. In a recent survey only 45 LAs were able to tell us what proportion of checks were delivered to men and how many men had been invited. We want local authorities to challenge themselves to improve their understanding and use this to inform service delivery.

Second, more and better communication to men about NHS Health Checks – male-tailored and more relevant, memorable and motivating – is crucial to encouraging men to take up an offer of a check.

Finally, barriers to NHS Health Checks must be reduced for people in full-time work. NHS Health Checks need to be available in the workplace and outside office hours – and easily bookable, for example via Patient Online.



Operational update by Jamie Waterall, National lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention & Associate Deputy Chief Nurse

Jamie Waterall

Last week we published the latest official statistics on the NHS Health Check programme. This showed that between April 2013 and September 2016, 10.1 million  people have been offered an NHS Health Check and 4.9 million people have had a check.  This equates to 48.3% of people taking up the offer nationally. This makes this one of the largest adult prevention programmes of its kind internationally. This is something we should be collectively proud of, yet we can also reflect on how to do even better. We know that there is significant local variation in these figures, so I would strongly encourage colleagues to review their own data. Public Health England (PHE) remains committed in our offer to support local teams to maximise the impact of the NHS Health Check programme for their local residents. Please do use the various resources contained on our programme website and make contact with your local PHE centre for further support.

This month, PHE published Local health and care planning: menu of preventative interventions. The menu supports local planning processes and can be used to inform local commissioning strategies. Given the focus on preventative interventions, the NHS Health Check is referenced throughout this document as a means of systematically targeting the principle risk factors and conditions accounting for the largest proportion of disability adjusted life years lost. I would encourage colleagues to have a read to see how this can help them meet local targets.

In October, we published a revised version of the NHS Health Check information governance and data flows guidance. The guidance received input from a number of important stakeholders and we would like to thank all those involved in developing this update. The new guidance replaces the earlier document published in 2014. The major change to the new guidance recognises the role played by local authorities as commissioners of NHS Health Checks, which is instrumental in making the programme a success. It also includes an added feature of case studies to illustrate the different relationships between data controllers and data processors for NHS Health Checks.

Finally, I wanted to thank all those who submitted an abstract for the upcoming NHS Health Check conference which will take place on the 9th February in Manchester next year. In previous years, we have always been oversubscribed for this event, so I would encourage colleagues to register now to avoid disappointment.

Visit to the North East region by National Lead and Deputy National Lead


National lead meeting with the North East CVD/NHS Health Check Leads Network 14.10.16

Jamie Waterall (national lead for cardiovascular disease prevention and associate deputy chief nurse), and Katherine Thompson (deputy national lead), recently spent two days with Beverley Oliver - Health and Wellbeing Programme Lead for the North East Centre. The aim of the visit was to participate in meetings and events focused on cardiovascular disease prevention in the North East, including the NHS Health Checks.

The two days included opportunities to meet and have in-depth conversations with Professor Peter Kelly, the new Centre Director for the North East and CD lead for the NHS Health Checks programme, and time with Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health for North Tyneside and lead DPH for the North East CVD/NHS Health Check Network. On Day one there was also a meeting with the Chair and CEO of the North Tyneside GP Federation; CCG Medical Director and CCG Commissioning Manager; Public Health Commissioning Manager, Public Health Lead and Senior Manager for sport and leisure and weight management service to reflect on progress made on establishing the NHS Health Check programme within wider primary care settings.

On Day two, Jamie and Katherine took part in the North East CVD/NHS Health Check Leads network meeting, followed by a workshop with the North East DsPH Network, supported by their local leads exploring emerging themes and priority setting for 2017/18.

Professor Peter Kelly said: “It was a pleasure to see Jamie and Katherine and I enjoyed our conversation and in particular the opportunity for the North East to pilot CVD opportunities in the future. I am a long-standing, enthusiastic advocate of the NHS Health Checks and I am looking forward to my role as CD lead for the NHS Health Checks Programme and local and national colleagues as we move the agenda forward. We really appreciate our national colleagues coming out to the Centres and I know this is echoed by the DsPH and their teams.”

Jamie said: “It was an absolute pleasure to spend two days in the North East. We took a huge amount away from our contact with local authority, NHS and PHE centre colleagues. I was particularly struck with the ‘can do’ approach in the North East and colleagues' drive to improve quality and outcomes. The local PHE Centres have our support in taking forward local priorities and we are always keen to discuss these further as we develop our business plans.”

Beverley Oliver

Health and Wellbeing Programme Lead, North East PHE Centre



Registration is now open for Getting Serious About Prevention 2017: Improving cardiovascular health together

On 9 February 2017, we will be holding our fourth annual conference in Manchester, which will be hosted by Dr Dawn Harper, GP and Media Medic. This event will once again offers an exciting, wide ranged and packed agenda, which has been developed in response to delegates’ feedback from the 2016 event.

For the first time, the Royal College of Nursing is endorsing the event and we will have three training sessions on: What is CVD risk and how can it be communicated?; how to engage patients in a conversation about Dementia: the forgotten cardiovascular disease; and on motivational interviewing techniques and How to avoid negative reactions. These sessions have been designed to address common issues and questions and are aimed at frontline practitioners delivering the NHS Health Check.

We are also introducing roundtable discussions in three of the sessions. This new format will enable delegates to learn from the experiences of others and be part of a discussion on the challenges and opportunities for action on the following topics: improving quality, working in collaboration, and equity and health inequality.

The programme for the day also includes time to explore our vibrant exhibitor area, an opportunity to learn from others through the poster presentations, as well as a selection of oral presentations on a range of topics from data science to learning from the diabetes prevention programme. With something for everyone  places will book up quickly so please register here.

 We look forward to seeing you at next year’s event.

Blood Pressure profiles for England

The new Blood profiles for England developed in collaboration with BHF, PHE, NCVIN, RCGP, Stroke Association, Blood Pressure UK and British and Irish Hypertension Society have been updated and can be accessed here

CVD prevention team - roles and responsibilities

Jamie Waterall, national lead for CVD prevention & associate deputy chief nurse

  • Aligning and strengthening PHE’s contribution to CVD prevention in England
  • Building and strengthening leadership for the NHS Health Check and blood pressure programmes in England
  • Providing strategic oversight and management of PHE’s CVD prevention team
  • Deputising for PHE’s Chief Nurse, providing visible nurse leadership pertaining to health and wellbeing and community nursing. PHE’s strategic lead for All Our Health


Katherine Thompson, deputy national lead

  • Appraising research to inform decisions from the Expert Scientific and Clinical Advisory Panel on changing the content of the NHS Health Check.
  • Improving quality by developing and supporting the local use of the NHS Health Check systematic approach to raising standards (StARS) framework and by producing best practice guidance.
  • Disseminating learning through the delivery of an annual CVD conference.
  • Engaging with third sector partners to enhance the reach of the NHS Health Check programme.
  • Evaluating novel and innovative methods of improving NHS Health Check take up and of increasing blood pressure self-monitoring.


Slade Carter, deputy national lead

  • Leading on PHE’s national data extraction of NHS Health Check data
  • Aligning and strengthening agency-wide contributions on cardiovascular disease through the cardiovascular disease working group
  • Leading on the CVD prevention team’s business planning and reporting
  • Stocktake of PHE’s contributions to CVD prevention in England
  • Blood pressure system leadership board
  • Information governance and data flow guidance
  • National steering group


Dr Matt Kearney, GP and national clinical director for CVD Prevention

  • Supporting the NHS to improve secondary prevention of CVD through improved detection and management of high risk conditions such as high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and high cholesterol.
  • Supporting development and roll out of NHS RightCare CVD Prevention Pathways.
  • Collaborating with British Heart Foundation to build local CVD Communities of Practice.
  • Developing resources to support improved CVD prevention


Hannah Rees, senior support manager (Meritxell Rosell from 28/11/16 to 31/05/16)

  • NHS Health Check Competence and training
  • Local Implementer National Forum (LINF)
  • NHS Health Check Marketing and Branding, including One You
  • NHS Health Check and blood pressure content on NHS Choices
  • Blood pressure Evidence into Action  review
  • NHS Health Check Health Equity Audit Guidance


Catherine Lagord, data analyst

  • Quarterly NHS Health Check data returns from local authorities (official statistics standards). 
  • Health Profile and Longer Lives tools
  • National data extraction
  • Data intelligence and information governance sub-group
  • Heart age tool
  • Bridge between the chief knowledge officer and health and wellbeing for issues relating to information governance, modelling, dataset development and intelligence


Susannah Robinson, digital coordinator

  • NHS Health Checks digital work stream
  • Digital hypertension work in Cheshire and Merseyside
  • Focal point between PHE and the WHO-ITU joint initiative “Be He@lthy, Be Mobile”


Polly Kwok, support manager   

  • Best Practice guidance
  • NHS healthy workforce pilot
  • Regional and centre leads meetings
  • Website
  • Lead for webinars
  • Collect and submit the quarterly local authority data reports


Jennifer Ankrah, operational support administrator

  • PA to national lead
  • Administrative support for the CVD prevention team
  • E-bulletin publication
  • Blood pressure resource hub
  • Patient information leaflets



Registration is open for our NHS Health Checks webinars! Book now!

You can also access recordings and presentations of previous webinars via this link. Recent topics have included;

  • NHS RightCare Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Optimal Value Pathway, Tuesday 22nd November
  • What's New with the Alcohol Guidelines?" webinar, Thursday 3rd November
  • Delivery of the NHS Health Check by health trainers can improve conversion into uptake of lifestyle services, Thursday 20th October
  • Physical health checks in prisons, Monday 3rd October
  • National Diabetes Prevention programme update, Thursday 21st July
  • Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) - extracting and analysing data from general practice, Thursday 7th July
  • Optimising Hypertension Management, Wednesday 8th June
  • The Wessex approach to raising the quality of staff training for the NHS Health Check, Thursday 19th May



Social marketing and case stories

PHE is looking for examples of local authorities that have used market segmentation and market research to inform the development of local NHS Health Check marketing campaigns. If you’ve done any research or evaluation in this area in the last 18 months and can share a report or summary of the work then please get in contact with Katherine.thompson@phe.gov.uk

We are also looking to produce some new patient information films to go on NHS Choices. We are looking for people who’ve had an NHS Health Check and have been found to be: diabetic or NDH; or have familial hypercholesterolemia; or have high blood pressure. If you aware of any patients who meet these requirements and would be happy to be filmed telling their story then please contact Katherine.thompson@phe.gov.uk


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