Hancock looks to digitise NHS health checks

Health secretary to review checks for over 40s

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The NHS will look to digitise the personal health checks offered to citizens aged over 40, health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

The digitisation plans will be advanced as part of a review into how the checks, which are offered to people aged between 40 and 74, could be better personalised.

In addition to digitisation of the checks “where appropriate”, the NHS will explore how interventions could be more accurately targeted based on data factors such as age, DNA, and geographic location. An example given by the government is offering more guidance on alcohol abuse to citizens aged 40 to 49, who drink more than older people.

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Other things that will be considered as part of a review include increasing the range of conditions for which the checks can offer guidance, and how best to boost uptake of the checks – which have been performed for seven million people over the past five years. This equates to about 45%of the eligible population.

Hancock said: “Personalised, preventative healthcare is mission critical to the future-fit healthcare service we want to build. We must harness the latest technology and techniques to move away from the one-size-fits-all approach of the past. The review we are announcing today will be an important step towards achieving that, helping us to find data-led, evidenced-based ways to support people to spot, manage and prevent risks to their health through targeted intervention.”

The checks are designed to spot early indicators of conditions that cause premature death, including kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and strokes.

Sam Trendall

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