NHS trials digital GP health check-ups that patients can complete remotely

Thousands of patients in Cornwall will be the first to online system for delivering checks to patients aged over 40

Credit: StockSnap/Pixabay

The NHS is trialling the use of a digital version of GP-administered health check-ups, in which patients will be able to complete assessments remotely.

About 15 million adults across England aged between 40 and 74 are eligible for the NHS Health Check. The process currently involves an appointment with a GP in which patients are assessed for any risks related to strokes, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of dementia.

As part of a trial process – in which 2,000 people registered at one of three GP surgeries in Cornwall are being invited to participate – patients will be able to complete the general check-up without needing a GP appointment.

The new NHS Digital Health Check will include an online questionnaire and a kit designed to allow people to take their own blood sample at home. The check can be completed by taking a blood pressure reading at a pharmacy or in a GP surgery waiting room.

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During the trial – which will be used to inform the design of a national service – only those patients found to have an underlying health condition will require a follow-up in-person consultation, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, which announced the test exercise.

The DHSC claimed that the digital checks would be more convenient for many patients, and also have the potential to reduce pressure on frontline services. 

Minister for public health Neil O’Brien said: “Innovation is key to a modern, forward-looking National Health Service, and this trial will help us understand what a new digital NHS Health Check could look like in the years to come. The health check is crucial in preventing and identifying potentially life-threatening conditions, and this digital version will do just that while making patients’ lives easier and reducing pressure on frontline services.”

He added: “During the pandemic people got used to doing tests at home and getting their results online, so this trial is an opportunity for us to apply some of the lessons we learnt during COVID-19 and improve the way we deliver healthcare. I urge everyone invited to take part in the trial so we can get the best possible data as we look to roll out a national digital check.


Sam Trendall

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