‘It’s very worrying’: NHS health MOTs scrapped in Southampton because not enough people took part

Lifestyle

NHS health MOTs to be scrapped in Southampton after city branded one of the “least productive places”.

It has been announced that the current NHS Health Check scheme is to be scrapped in Southampton after a report by Medicspot revealed only 42 per cent of eligible people had participated in the scheme.

Southampton was named in the report as among the least proactive places in England when it comes to health due to the low number of people who took part in the scheme over the last five years.

The report compares regional NHS data on the utilisation of health checks, a free service offered by the NHS to everyone aged 40–74 to prevent premature death from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

The government announced it plans to replace the scheme with a digital version that makes use of technology to save people needing to book face-to-face appointments with their GP.

Out of the 54,968 eligible people in Southampton, 98 per cent were offered a free NHS Health Check between 2014 and 2019.

Despite this, only 42 per cent of those eligible in the city received a Health Check.

As many as 88 per cent of the eligible population in Bolton received a Health Check within the same period.

Dr Johnson D’souza, Medical Director and GP at Medicspot, said: “People aged 40–74 who don’t get a Health Check every five years are at an increased risk of undetected cardiovascular disease.”

“By checking your blood pressure, lifestyle, family history, height and weight, we can get an idea of your risk of getting certain illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“It is very worrying that only 42 per cent of people who were eligible for a free NHS Health Check in Southampton took up the offer.”

In June, researchers revealed free NHS checks reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study found that over a six-year period, participants of the Health Check programme had lost weight, lowered blood pressure and fewer were smokers.

Officials are yet to provide precise details of what the revamped Health Checks will look like in Southampton, but they said they would harness ‘the latest technology, techniques, and data’ and would include factors ‘that could include their age, where they live and their DNA’ to personalise health checks.