Patients will be asked to fill out health check forms ONLINE in bid to ease over-stretched GPs’ workloads under new plan
- Patients will be told to complete questionnaire and take blood samples at home
- Patient groups warned the ‘bonkers policy’ will lead to diseases being missed
- They fear some people will struggle to accurately complete the tests & surveys
Lifesaving NHS health checks will be conducted remotely rather than in person under controversial plans to ease pressure on GPs.
Patients will be told to complete an online questionnaire, take blood samples at home and check their blood pressure at a pharmacy.
The NHS Health Check is designed to prevent strokes, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of dementia.
Lifesaving NHS health checks will be conducted remotely rather than in person under controversial plans to ease pressure on GPs
The Department of Health said elements of the check do not need a medic and their time could be better spent.
But patient groups last night warned the ‘bonkers policy’ will lead to diseases being missed as happened when GPs were remote during the pandemic.
They fear some people will struggle to accurately complete the tests and survey themselves, while many elderly patients do not have access to the internet.
Patients will be told to complete an online questionnaire, take blood samples at home and check their blood pressure at a pharmacy
Why not let us book appointments online?
Outdated GP surgery websites are fuelling the 8am scramble for appointments as they still do not offer online booking systems, a damning report reveals.
It means millions of frustrated patients are forced to phone their surgery and join queues when they would prefer to use the internet.
Lines are also being clogged up by people requesting sick notes and repeat prescriptions at practices that have failed to embrace technology, according to the research by the Future Health think-tank.
An NHS spokesman said: ‘Seven out of ten patients report an overall good experience.’
The NHS will test the NHS Digital Health Check on more than 2,000 people from three GP surgeries across Cornwall, with the intention of rolling it out widely. Only those whose results indicate an underlying health condition will be followed-up with a doctor.
Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, which campaigns for elderly people, said: ‘This is another NHS England plot to break the personal relationship between doctors and patients.
‘A health check is not just about attaching patients to machines, it is a chance for the doctor to assess the overall health of the patient and offer lifestyle advice, for example on exercise, drinking and diet.
‘Huge numbers of serious conditions will be missed.’
Around 80 per cent of GP appointments were in-person pre-pandemic but this plummeted to 47 per cent in April 2020. NHS Health Checks have the potential to prevent 650 premature deaths, 1,600 heart attacks and strokes, and 4,000 cases of diabetes each year.
Neil O’Brien, minister for public health, 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.’
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said the digital checks have the potential to encourage people to take an interest in their health but there must be a ‘robust evaluation’ of their effectiveness before rolling them out more widely.