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Impact of the National Health Service Health Check Programme on cardiovascular disease risk

Our analysis of impact of the NHS Check programme on cardiovascular disease risk was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on 2 May 2016. The programme had statistically significant but clinically modest impacts on the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and individual risk CVD factors, although diagnosis of vascular disease increased.

Overall program performance was substantially below national targets, which highlights the need for careful planning, monitoring and evaluation of similar initiatives internationally. The effect of the programme on CVD risk was the equivalent of one CVD event (e.g. heart attack) prevented for every 4,762 people who attended a health check in a year.

For the NHS health check scheme to be effective, it needs to be better planned and implemented – our work will help highlight how this can be done. In future we plan to evaluate whether particular groups – for instance older patients – have greater health benefits from the check than younger patients. It would also be interesting to investigate the reasons why the health check produced such modest benefits. For instance, to evaluate the advice patients are given during the health check.

The article was covered by a number of media outlets including The Guardian, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Science Daily, Independent, Times, Western Daily Press, Pulse, GPSun, BMJ, OnMedica, Nursing Times and BT.

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