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Over-40s health screening

1st April 2008

The government has announced plans to offer people, aged from 40 to 74, health screens for conditions such as stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

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A patient in England will have a blood test taken at their GP surgery or health clinic and will be provided with the relevant follow-up care needed.

The British Medical Association stated that doctors carried out the required checks for the diseases already.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said he could not understand how the proposed checks would be able to go ahead, as there were not enough staff available.

Labour's current programme of health screening - known as NHS life checks - were announced in 2006. The government have insisted that the new health screens are separate from the checks, as they would be provided individually, rather than on a voluntary basis.

Patients will be given a "personal report" which will include advice about their risk of diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and stroke.

The government said computer predictions revealed the screenings could stop 2,000 deaths annually and avert 9,500 heart attacks and strokes.

Pilot screening programmes will begin in autumn 2008 in GP surgeries across the country, with the full plan coming into effect in 2009.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: "The case for a national programme of vascular checks is compelling."

"The NHS is becoming more personal and responsive to individual needs - becoming as good at prevention and keeping people healthy as it is at providing care and cures."

 

 

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