Evaluation of the uptake and delivery of the NHS Health Check programme in England, using primary care data from 9.5 million people: A cross-sectional study

Riyaz Patel*, Sharmani Barnard, Katherine Thompson, Catherine Lagord, Emma Clegg, Robert Worrall, Timothy Evans, Slade Carter, Julian Flowers, Dave Roberts, Michaela Nuttall, Nilesh J. Samani, John Robson, Matt Kearney, John Deanfield, Jamie Waterall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To describe the uptake and outputs of the National Health Service Health Check (NHSHC) programme in England. Design Observational study. Setting National primary care data extracted directly by NHS Digital from 90% of general practices (GP) in England. Participants Individuals aged 40-74 years, invited to or completing a NHSHC between 2012 and 2017, defined using primary care Read codes. Intervention The NHSHC, a structured assessment of non-communicable disease risk factors and 10-year cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, with recommendations for behavioural change support and therapeutic interventions. Results During the 5-year cycle, 9 694 979 individuals were offered an NHSHC and 5 102 758 (52.6%) took up the offer. There was geographical variation in uptake between local authorities across England ranging from 25.1% to 84.7%. Invitation methods changed over time to incorporate greater digitalisation, opportunistic delivery and delivery by third-party providers. The population offered an NHSHC resembled the English population in ethnicity and deprivation characteristics. Attendees were more likely to be older and women, but were similar in terms of ethnicity and deprivation, compared with non-attendees. Among attendees, risk factor prevalence reflected population survey estimates for England. Where a CVD risk score was documented, 25.9% had a 10-year CVD risk ≥10%, of which 20.3% were prescribed a statin. Advice, information and referrals were coded as delivered to over 2.5 million individuals identified to have risk factors. Conclusion This national analysis of the NHSHC programme, using primary care data from over 9.5 million individuals offered a check, reveals an uptake rate of over 50% and no significant evidence of inequity by ethnicity or deprivation. To maximise the anticipated value of the NHSHC, we suggest continued action is needed to invite more eligible people for a check, reduce geographical variation in uptake, prioritise engagement with non-attendees and promote greater use of evidence-based interventions especially where risk is identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere042963
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding RP (FS/14/76/30933) and JD (BHF chair) were funded by the BHF. Data extraction and analysis were funded by PHE.

Publisher Copyright:


  • preventive medicine
  • public health
  • vascular medicine


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