At ToHealth, we are tremendously proud to deliver NHS Health Checks on behalf of many local authorities. We passionately believe that we are touching people’s lives and making a real difference to the long term health of the nation.
The positive impact of having an NHS Health Check can be summed up in two words – Trigger and Gateway.
By helping understand the state of their health and their level of CVD risk, the NHS Health check acts as a trigger for people to re-evaluate their life and their health. In some cases, they are presented with an unavoidable fact.
In February, we performed a health check on someone whose HBA1C reading was 82mmol/mol. A normal reading would be below 42mmol/mol and anyone above 48 would be asked to go to their GP on the grounds that they may have diabetes. So we are confident that this person was an undiagnosed diabetic.
More commonly, we see people whose cholesterol level is raised, whose BMI would classify them as obese. In those cases, our nurses are trained to talk to them about their lifestyle and diet and encourage them to reconsider.
We know that this does work. We had two pieces of feedback recently – a card sent to our office by someone on the south coast and a person who stopped one of our members of staff in the street. In both cases, the person had understood the message and it had acted as a trigger for them to change their lifestyle and radically improve their health. In both cases, they had radically reduced their weight and seen the health benefits that flowed from that and wanted to tell us about it.
Beyond acting as a trigger, the NHS Health Check can act as a gateway. The NHS Health Check is now managed by local authority public health teams who also provide a variety of “get healthy” services from weight loss to smoking cessation. Many people are not aware of the services on offer. By referring people into those services, the NHS Health Check can help improve take up and spread the word around what is on offer. These services can be vital in supporting people who want to make a change but need help to achieve it.