NHS digital health check-ups launched ‘to ease pressure on GPs’ | UK News

The NHS is to offer new digital health checks to the public in an attempt to ease pressure on GP surgeries.

The scheme is an expansion of in-person routine check-ups which are currently offered to people aged 40 to 74 and which aim to spot potential health problems early.

The new digital version will see patients asked to fill in an online questionnaire, including details of their height and weight, while they will also be encouraged get their blood and cholesterol levels tested.

The results will be made available online, with people then given personalised advice or, if necessary, referred to a GP.

The government aims to deliver one million of the online check-ups in the first four years of the scheme, which will be rolled out across England from next spring.

It comes amid growing pressure on the NHS, including GP surgeries.

A Sky News analysis of health service data recently found one in every five GP practices in England and Wales has closed since 2013, putting additional strain on those that remain.

‘Scheme will save lives’

Around 1.3 million in-person health checks, which typically take around 20 minutes, are delivered each year and help to spot early signs of strokes, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.

They have helped identify 315,000 people with obesity, 33,000 cases of hypertension and prevented more than 400 heart attacks and strokes, the government estimates.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the new digital version, which will run “alongside” the in-person scheme, would “save lives”.

He added: “This new digital check-up will mean people can do simple tests and get tailored advice from homes while reducing pressure on GP services.

“This programme is the latest example of how we are using technology to cut waiting times.”

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Stroke Association both welcomed the announcement on Thursday, saying the scheme could help identify more people at risk of potentially fatal health conditions.

BHF medical director, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, said: “Millions of people in England are living with conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that, if left untreated, significantly increase the risk of a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke.

“This initiative will help to reach more people and encourage them to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked so that, where necessary, healthcare professionals can work with them to manage their condition.”