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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why do I need an NHS Health Check?

Everyone has a chance of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes or certain types of dementia. The NHS Health Check will help you and your GP or health professional to identify your risk earlier.

You'll then be given advice on what action you can take to lower your risk and improve your chances of a healthier life. This could include suggestions on small changes to your diet or how much exercise you take if your risk is low or moderate. If you are at higher risk, you might be offered things such as medicines to control your blood pressure, along with help to take action like losing weight or stopping smoking.

How do I get an appointment for an NHS Health Check? 

You will receive an invitation to an NHS Health Check if you are between the ages of 40 and 74 and are not already on a disease register. If you have not received an invitation, you will receive one, but you may have to wait. The NHS Health Check should happen once every five years so you can see if your risk has changed.

Where will my NHS Health Check happen?

This varies across the country. In some areas, the NHS Health Check will be done by your GP at their  surgery. But in other areas NHS Health Checks are conducted in sport centres, pharmacies, schools, town halls and even in special mobile test centres.

If you’re not registered with a GP, it's a good idea to register now. 

What happens at my NHS Health Check?

You will be given some straightforward health tests including having your blood pressure, weight and height measured. You will also be asked some questions about your family’s medical history and your lifestyle. It’s not embarrassing or painful and should only take 20-30 minutes.

What happens after my check?

You will be told your results and advised on any lifestyle changes you need to take to improve your score. If you need a prescription or other medical help, that will also be provided. Following your first check, you'll be invited for another check every five years until you're over 74.  

Can I do an NHS Health Check online?

The full check cannot be done online. As well as testing your blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI levels, the NHS Health Check involves a healthcare professional listening to your health concerns and advising you on the best ways to improve your health.

What if I’m not old enough for an NHS Health Check?

The NHS Health Check programme is aimed at people aged 40 to 74. If you are not old enough for an NHS Health Check, you will soon be able to do a free pre-check online (currently in development). If you are especially worried about your health, you can always book an appointment with your GP and they may give you an early NHS Health Check if they think it is necessary. 

If you have urgent concerns about your health, call NHS 111 for advice.

Why do you have to be over 40 to have an NHS Health Check?

Younger people generally have a much lower risk of the conditions the NHS Health Check covers, so checking people in this group would not be such an effective way for the NHS to spend its resources. 

It is recommended, however, that all adults are aware of their blood pressure and other key measures such as their BMI. Ask your GP or a pharmacist for advice on getting this information if you don’t already have it.  

  • Check your BMI with our BMI calculator
  • Boost your activity levels with our free Couch to 5K running programme
  • When it becomes available, see how you get on with the online pre-check tool (check back for updates) 

How long does an NHS Health Check take?

The NHS Health Check takes around 20-30 minutes. Make sure you attend on time, and leave a little time in your day in case your appointment lasts slightly longer than expected (for instance, if you need further tests) or the appointments are running a bit late.

Does the NHS Health Check hurt?

No, not really. You will need to have a blood sample taken at the NHS Health Check. This will usually involve a quick “finger-prick” test to produce a small drop of blood from your fingertip. None of the other tests are at all painful.

Is the NHS Health Check embarrassing?

No. There should be no embarrassing questions, and you shouldn't have to remove any clothes (unless you're wearing a top with tight-fitting sleeves that would make taking your blood pressure difficult). You can request to be seen by a male or a female healthcare professional if you prefer.

Does the NHS Health Check involve taking clothes off?

No. You should wear comfortable, loose clothing when attending an NHS Health Check appointment as you will have to roll up your sleeve to have your blood pressure measured. You may also have a blood sample taken from your arm to measure your cholesterol level, although this is often done as a "finger-prick" test.

Want to know more?

We have mobile screening units that run around Essex and Suffolk. If you'd like to know more, click below.