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PHE releases advice on increasing uptake of NHS Health Checks

5 August 2016

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Public Health England has launched guidance for getting more patients to use NHS Health Checks.

The guidance released yesterday details seven ways to increase the number of patients coming in for their health check.

PHE suggests methods including “targeted telephone outreach”, which, despite being labour and cost intensive, increased the number of patients who started their check on the phone and completed it in person by 78%.

The guidance says: “If calls are targeted at groups at high risk of cardiovascular disease and part of the check is completed over the phone, the patient is more likely to go on and complete their check in a GP surgery”.

Practices in Southwark also saw a 65% increase in uptake using GP computer systems which remind clinical staff to invite eligible patients to a health check.

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PHE also recommended “myth busting” through letters which address common excuses like: “I don’t want to bother the NHS”, with counter arguments like: “Your GP says: I want you to attend the NHS Health Check, as it can help prevent you developing more serious conditions which will take up more NHS resources”.

Other letters PHE recommends sending include phrases such as “Your GP has already set aside funding to pay for your appointment” and deadline commitments in the national template invitation letter.

The only method which was found to have no impact on NHS Health Check uptake rates was the use of GP TV.

The guidance says: “While using promotional videos can be fun and creative (salience), there is an absence of evidence on their impact on take up of an NHS Health Check.

“In Salford, a promotional video, which contained messages to increase awareness of the NHS Health Check and its benefit but no call to action, played in GP surgery waiting rooms did not change the number of checks completed.”