Patients ‘scared’ to go for health checks

PUBLISHED: 11:00 26 June 2014

People are 'scared' to attend life-saving health checks

People are 'scared' to attend life-saving health checks

Archant

PEOPLE are ‘scared’ of going to potentially life-saving health checks, with many fearing being ‘told off’ about their lifestyle choices.

Only seven per cent of those eligible in North Somerset attended free NHS health checks in 2013-14.

The tests assess the risk of getting a number of common diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia.

But Mark Graham, chief executive of the For All Healthy Living Centre, on Weston’s Bournville estate, says he believes people are turning their backs on the vital check-ups through fear of getting a ticking-off from their doctors.

Mr Graham said: “I think for some people the reason they don’t come forward is because they are scared and think they are going to get told off.

“In reality what they get is supported.

“In most cases the results will either show nothing or not very much.”

Just 7.09 per cent of eligible people, less than half of the council’s 16 per cent target, are attending - a low take-up figure which prompted concerns at North Somerset Council’s executive meeting last week.

A report noted ‘numerous difficulties’ surrounding the check-ups, which are available for people aged between 40 and 74.

Cllr Roz Willis said there is a problem with them dealing with the ‘worried well’ but not targeting the ‘isolated ill’.

The council is planning to commission a number of workplace and community events where people can go to receive a check.

The For All Healthy Living Centre recently invited 175 people for a check-up, so far 16 people have declined, 36 have said yes but 123 are yet to respond.

Mr Graham said: “People just need some encouragement.

“To use the mid-life MOT analogy - it’s better to do something now than to have a tyre fall off later.

“Look at blood pressure for example, it’s called the silent killer because there are no symptoms, but actually some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.”

If you’re registered with a GP and eligible for a free NHS health check you will automatically receive a letter inviting you to one.

The For All Healthy Living Centre also provides health checks. To book an appointment, call 0345 3503973

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