The take-up of NHS health checks in the East Riding has soared to one of the highest in the country.
The percentage of East Riding residents who have undergone the checks has seen a massive increase since responsibility for the NHS Health Check programme moved to local authorities in April this year.
The programme aims to help lower the risk of developing common but often preventable diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.
The take-up of the checks in the East Riding has been one of the highest in the UK, with more than 86 per cent of those offered a check taking up the opportunity, compared with 48 per cent nationally and 56 per cent regionally.
The figures are the first published by Public Health England since East Riding of Yorkshire Council took over responsibility for carrying out the programme in its area earlier this year.
Previous figures for the take-up of the health checks in the East Riding had been low, with only a handful carried out in 2011/12.
The programme invites people aged between 40 and 74 to have a health check, which is offered at venues across the East Riding including some GP surgeries and leisure centres.
The check takes around 20 to 30 minutes and asks some simple questions about family history and lifestyle such as smoking. This is followed by a few simple tests for cholesterol levels, BMI and blood pressure.
After this the results are explained, along with suggestions on maintaining good health and on lifestyle changes that will help to improve health.
If necessary, the person being checked can be signposted into services that can help, for example exercise referral.
Councillor Jonathan Owen, chair of the health and wellbeing board and the council’s portfolio holder for transformation and strategic partnerships, said: “The good news is that since Public Health at East Riding Council picked up the responsibility for commissioning the NHS Health Check programme we have seen a substantial increase in the number of health checks carried out on East Riding residents.
“This is a great start but there is still much work to do and the challenge over the next year is to expand from our successful pilot programmes to a larger comprehensive service that covers all parts of the East Riding.”
Andy Kingdom, Deputy Director of Public Health, said: “The NHS Health Checks service is an important health improvement programme for the East Riding. It provides a great opportunity to engage with local people in discussions and advice about healthy lifestyle before they develop illness and chronic disease that can be avoided.”
Nine GP practices are taking part in the programme and these are in the process of inviting patients to attend for a health check.
In addition to this, NHS Health Checks are currently provided by East Riding of Yorkshire Council leisure services, tel (01482) 392527; Humber Foundation Trust Health Trainers, tel 0800 917 6844; and City Healthcare Partnerships Healthy Routes, tel (01482) 335209.