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Brown unveils first national screening programme for NHS

7 January 2008

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Prime Minister Gordon Brown will unveil details of a new national health screening programme to provide NHS patients with early warning of some of the country’s biggest killer diseases.

The government intends to set up the first national screening programme of its kind in the world, spotting the early signs of heart problems, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

He will also announce plans to make key diagnostic procedures like blood tests, electro-cardiograms (ECGs) and ultrasounds available in local GP surgeries, to help cut waiting times.

Mr Brown will use his first major speech on health since becoming Prime Minister last year to call for a transformation of the NHS into a “personal and preventative health service”.

Speaking to an audience of health professionals in London, he will say: “Over time everyone in Britain will have access to the right preventative health check-up.”

In the next few months, Health Secretary Alan Johnson will set out plans to introduce NHS tests to identify vulnerability to a range of heart and circulation problems, Mr Brown will say.

Vascular screening, to be introduced this year or early 2009, will include a series of blood, fat and sugar tests in GP surgeries, alongside questions on age, gender, postcode, family history, height and weight.

Those identified as being at risk will have access to treatment, advice and support to make necessary lifestyle changes to avoid ill-health.

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