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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Health MOTs warning

23rd July 2009

An investigation by Which? found private health checks offered poor value for money and can often lead to painful and possibly dangerous tests.

They believe the tests, which cost on average £423, were catering to the "worried well".

However, some of the health firms highlighted said their tests were good quality and provided value for money.

Health MOTs include physical tests as well as blood pressure and cholesterol checks.  An estimated £100m a year in the UK is spent on them.

Which? surveyed more than 4,000 members of the public. Their researchers posed as customers at clinics run by six health firms as well as talking to others. Prices ranged from £125 to £2,000.

One of their researchers was given conflicting advice despite getting almost identical test results for risk of heart disease. The tests were run by BMI healthcare, Nuffield Health and BUPA.

BMI said he had a greater risk than average for his age and immediate action should be taken. Nuffield Health said his risk was in line with expectations for his age. BUPA said his heart was much better than average.

Which? also found that none of the clinics visited talked about the possible downsides of testing, including false positives.

The report also warned that the tests being carried out often led to unnecessary and sometimes painful further checks.

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