Government announces new Digital NHS Health Check

The government has today announced a new Digital NHS Health Check, which will be rolled out from next spring, with an aim to enable around one million more health checks to be conducted per year.

The new digital service will be accessible to patients through their mobile phone, tablet or computer, and will ask them to complete an online questionnaire about their height, weight, BP and blood test results. The results will also be available to access online, directing patients to advice to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke; as well as other advice relating to weight loss and stopping smoking. Referrals to GPs will only be made if a need for further treatment or investigation is identified, helping to reduce demand on GP services.

The announcement predicts that each digital check conducted could save 20 minutes of NHS time, potentially freeing up hundreds of thousands of primary care appointments.

It follows the existing NHS Health Check, which has delivered around 1.3 million health checks per year, identifying “315,000 people living with obesity, 33,000 cases of hypertension and preventing over 400 heart attacks and strokes”.

Adding a digital version of the Health Check is expected to add to these benefits, with Steve Barclay, Health and Social Care Secretary, stating: “Thousands of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented every year through simple health checks, which would save lives and ease pressure on the NHS. This new digital check-up will mean people can do simple tests and get tailored advice from homes while reducing pressure on GP services.”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, comments: “Millions of people in England are living with conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that, if left untreated, significantly increase the risk of a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke. This initiative will help to reach more people and encourage them to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked so that, where necessary, healthcare professionals can work with them to manage their condition.”

To read the announcement in full, please click here.