What is a NHS Health Check?
The NHS Health Check is a free check-up of your overall health. It can tell you whether you're at higher risk of getting certain health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. If you are over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for. If you are aged 40-74 and you haven't had a stroke, or you don't already have heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease, you should have an NHS Health Check every five years. Any follow-up tests or appointments are also free of charge.
What happens at the NHS Health Check?
An NHS Health Check takes about 20-30 minutes. The health professional – often a nurse or healthcare assistant – will ask you some simple questions about your lifestyle and family history, measure your height and weight, and take your blood pressure and do a blood test – often using a small finger prick test. Based on this, they will be able to give you an idea of your chances of getting heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. If you're over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for.
You will then receive personalised advice to lower your risk. This could include talking about:
- How to improve your diet and the amount of physical activity you do.
- Taking medicines to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol.
- How to lose weight or stop smoking.
If you prefer, you can ask to see a man or a woman, but the questions aren't embarrassing and you won't have to take your clothes off during the check.
Where do you have an NHS Health Check?
This can vary according to where you live. You'll usually have your NHS Health Check at a GP surgery or local pharmacy, but it could happen at other places in your local area, such as a shopping centre, library or leisure centre. In some areas, NHS Health Checks are offered from mobile units to passers-by and in workplaces.
How can I arrange to have an NHS Health Check?
You'll be invited for a free NHS Health Check every five years if you're between 40 and 74 years of age and do not already have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure.
If you're registered with a GP surgery that offers the NHS Health Check, you should get an invitation. Don't worry if you haven't been invited yet – you will be over the next five years.
Alternatively, your local authority, Newcastle City Council will send you an appointment letter explaining where you have to go for your NHS Health Check.
Did you know?
As well as measuring your risk of developing these health problems, an NHS Health Check gives you advice on how to prevent them. The risk level varies from person to person, but everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and some types of dementia. Your NHS Health Check can detect potential health problems before they do real damage.
Need more information?
If you're not sure if you're eligible for an NHS Health Check and would like one, or if you are eligible but haven't had an NHS Health Check in the last five years, ask your GP for an appointment now.
You can also contact the local outreach provider Healthworks. For more information see: