More people take up free health checks in Suffolk and Essex

Suffolk GP+ has been hailed a success within a matter of weeks of launching in Ipswich

Suffolk GP+ has been hailed a success within a matter of weeks of launching in Ipswich

Public health chiefs have welcomed new figures showing almost two thirds of eligible people have taken up the offer of a free health check in Suffolk over the last two years.

More than 234,000 people in the county are eligible to have a check, which can detect those at risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

According to Public Health England (PHE) figures, a total of 89,465 have been offered the test since 2013 and of these, 56.5% – 50,531 people – have taken it up.

Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health and adult care at Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for public health, said: “It is really encouraging to see the numbers of people taking up the offer of their free NHS health check and therefore taking responsibility for their own health is increasing in Suffolk.

“The health assessments can help people reduce the risk of serious, yet potentially avoidable conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

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“I recently had my own health check and was given good tips and advice on how to keep on top of my health. The check only lasted 20 minutes and I found it was easier to talk to my health check worker than others about my health and lifestyle.”

The health check initiative tests a range of different measurements, including your BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure.

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They can then be told on the day what their risk of developing certain conditions are, how they can combat it and whether they should take any immediate action.

The overall aim of the assessment is to identify and intervene earlier to improve people’s health and wellbeing by helping to reduce their risk of serious and potentially avoidable conditions. According to PHE, 14.9% of adults in Suffolk have high blood pressure and 65.3% are obese or overweight.

Jamie Waterall, national lead for the NHS Health Check programme at PHE, said: “Last year saw the NHS Health Check available across England for the first time and it is fantastic that almost 2.5million people have taken up their free check since then.

“The programme is an opportunity to identify and address the high levels of undiagnosed and under-treated conditions that people are living with in this country, before serious health problems develop.

“We need to continue to encourage everyone who is eligible to take up this important offer.”

The health check is available to people aged 40-74.

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