NHS Health Check

Helping you prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia

NHS Health Check and you

Your experience of the check

The NHS Health Check programme is for adults in England aged between 40 and 74. If you're invited for an NHS Health Check you'll be asked a set of standard questions and offered a series of routine tests that will help identify your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of dementia.

You can find out more about the importance of those diseases in Why these conditions?

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 appointment 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 like medicines to control your blood pressure, along with help to take action like losing weight or stopping smoking.

How do I get an NHS Health Check?

If you're aged between 40 and 74 and haven't already been diagnosed with vascular disease or treated for certain risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, you will be invited for your check every five years. From April 2013, responsibility for the NHS Health Check programme moved to your local authority, which will invite everyone who is eligible over a five-year rolling cycle.

If you're concerned about your health, don't wait until your NHS Health Check to do something about it. Go to your GP as you would normally.

Adults who have already been diagnosed with any of the conditions mentioned won't be invited for the check, and their condition will continue to be managed as usual. All of the standard tests in the NHS Health Check will already be covered as part of the management of that condition.

Where will my NHS Health Check happen?

This will vary across the country. If you’re registered with a GP, you may be invited for the check by letter, or you may be offered the check when you're at your GP for another reason. If you’re not registered with a GP, it's a good idea to register now. You can find your local GP surgery in Find and choose services

Additionally, you may be offered the NHS Health Check in local pharmacies or other suitable and accessible locations in your community. Your local authority will decide on the most suitable location for you and it will give you the details when it invites you for your check.

What happens at my NHS Health Check?

You will be asked some standard questions about your family medical history and your lifestyle along with a few straightforward health tests, followed by a discussion of your results. Learn more in What happens at NHS Health Check?

What happens after my check?

Following your first check, you'll be invited for another check every five years until you're over 74. If you're diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or have a stroke after your first or any subsequent NHS Health Check, your condition will be managed as usual and there will be no need for further checks. If you are also diagnosed with conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, these will also be managed by your GP and therefore you won't be required to attend the NHS Health Check programme.

If your GP offers you any medical treatments after your NHS Health Check, such as medicines to lower your blood pressure, your progress on those medicines will be monitored by your GP.

Page last reviewed: 15/05/2013

Next review due: 15/05/2015


The 25 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Coppertop65 said on 23 March 2014

I'm 49 and worried about my cholesterol and whether or not I'm diabetic. My sister had a heart attack 2 year ago and was found to also be diabetic, my mum had heart disease and died with vascular dementia caused by the heart disease and my dad had several strokes but these were thought to have been caused by cancer. I've asked my doctor on several occasions for an nhs health check and she had no idea what i meant, so i printed this info out and took it to her, she then gave me some blood tests and said my cholesterol was high and to try and lose weight. I've lost half a stone and would like to be retested but it seems an impossibility!! Does anyone know how or where i can go to to get one of these health checks??

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vulcanlady said on 15 November 2013

I received a letter "inviting" me to phone for a check up, apparently offered every 5 years to patients at the practice, aged 40 -79. At 59 years of age, this is first time its happened, although husband had one last year. The only time I've been to this practice (after moving 5 years ago) the doc said could not help with my SAD - which is serious (told him I got suicidally depressed and chucked up each winter, etc). He told me to investigate lightboxes myself, try vit D, and good luck. Friends disgusted that left suffering severe depression from Oct to Feb each year without any counselling at the very least. Also, they have lost my notes, dispute looking, never found them - only that visit recorded on computer notes now, no hard copy and record of previous operations, health etc!! Words fail me, we wait to see how this health check goes!

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QE said on 13 November 2013

I was invited to a health check today when I got there they had no record of my appointment and it had never been confirmed in writing - this, apparently, was my fault. While I was there, another woman said that she had never been able to get through to the telephone number to arrange hers. It seems this is a great idea badly organised. Neither of us got our check.

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Sabandar said on 15 August 2013

Amazed to hear that there is a recognised Health Check. I am 61 and have been registered with my current practice for 6 years and never been called for this screening. Earlier this year, I asked my doctor for a series of blood tests (routinely offered in many EU countries) to detect all the 'hidden' conditions we are continually warned about. He told me I looked fit, presumably based on the fact that I was wearing trainers, and didn't need any tests. He made it sound as though I was looking for something to be wrong so I assume my notes now reflect me as an attention seeking hypochondriac. He did take my BP and said it was a bit high, no further comment, suggestion or follow-up. Presumably, if I was obese and smoked 40 a day and got drunk at the weekend, I would be offered all sorts of treatment. It seems to be that trying to STAY healthy in this country is considered a waste of time and money.

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devonbelle said on 31 July 2013

I have tried to get a health check as there is diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease in my family but am unable to get one because I am on blood pressure pills , Why should this make a difference? It is under control.
I am supposed to be checked to for thyroid and kidney function too but doctors never check it.
How do I get all these things checked if I am not eligible for the test ?

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JohnTR said on 21 July 2013

I have taken advantage of this free health check (58 years old) at my surgery. This was something my surgery used to do every year anyway, until it stopped for whatever reason two years ago.
I must say it is a good idea, however I have a couple of comments to make.
I feel I was being treated like a child, with a green happy smiley face, and a red angry face for my results. All that was missing was a sticker saying what a good boy John had been and a lolly!
Also I do find it a little contradictory being told I am over weight (only just into the red on the tape measure), need more exercise (which I agree with) by a medical practitioner who in comparison must be morbidly obese! It doesn't encourage a healthy lifestyle when the people doing the preaching obviously don't practice what they preach!

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Fraser1 said on 21 July 2013

BBC breakfast program reported the Health minister stating these tests will save lives.
BUT>>> unless invited you will not get one.
Local controls define what is available.
I'm 53 and never been offered one nor likely in the near future.

It's all down to cost!

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Andygrim said on 28 June 2013

I received an invite earlier in the year to attend a health check.
I have contacted the surgery where I am registered but have been informed that they no longer carry these out.
Where and what do I do to have a health carried out?

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askoorb said on 01 April 2013

The information on this site is now, unfortunately, incorrect. Due to the major changes that have been pushed through in the NHS, Public Health, Health Promotion and Health Education have been given to County Councils. The NHS Health Check falls under Public Health, so if you want more information on the NHS Health Check you need to speak to your council. More information is at http://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/

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wheresthedoc said on 18 March 2013

Local primary care trusts (PCTs) will choose who receives the check first???

What "rules" are they using, the ones that best suit their statistics?

Iam also 54, my father eventually passed away through a stroke & my mother is still surviving after a heart attack?

No call up here yet? either

Another failed initiative that looks good in Whitehall

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nchunt said on 12 February 2013

And digging a little deeper, it would seem that the project is at least gaining momentum with about 23% more people invited in Q2 2012 compared to 2011. From the latest stats available (Q2 2012) the odds of receiving a letter have shortened to 1 in 26 in any quarter period with an expected wait of anything up to 6-7 years.

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nchunt said on 12 February 2013

Found some stats:
For the period April-June 2011 (inclusive?) there were 15931623 people eligible, 424263 were offered (2.66%) and 211069 accepted (about 50% uptake)
So if enthusiasm for this project doesn't wane, in any 3 month period we have about a 1 in 38 chance of receiving an invitation and it will take just over 9 years before everyone will have received an invite...of course the number eligible is not likely to change much from year to year as old 75's make way for young 40's and the retests start to kick in, so an expectation of more than a 9 year wait is quite likely for some. Willing to bet I'll be 65+ before I see my letter :-(

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nchunt said on 12 February 2013

I'm 54 and (I think) I'm in good health. Tried to request one of these checks at my GPs but was told they're definitely by invitation only and whilst I could opt for a chargeable check-up I'd have to wait for "the letter" if I wanted one for free. Does anyone have any stats on how many invitations have been sent out by county and age group? I couldn't get any clue as to when I might receive my invitation "over the coming years"...with only 20 to go, they'd better get a move on in the next 15 if they want to recall me after a further 5!

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misseyjulie said on 09 February 2013

In the absence of any response from anyone in the NHS responsible for this initiative : according to information on HealthyPompey Health certain pharmacies are offering this health check so look on your Council website to see if health checks are being organised by pharmacies (which may explain why your GP surgeries are not interested/involved) .( A disenchanted 53 year old).

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freestarlady said on 07 February 2013

I asked my doctor for a full health check, i got a refusal!! So if there are any internal health problems i would not know about them.Yet the government bring out all these schemes to supposedly help us, but yet we cant get a health check wich could save someones life!! Time to take action!! I am going to print this web site and take it to my doctor then see what he has to say!!.

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klink said on 03 February 2013

about a year ago I went to the nurse for a flu jab.
She suddenly said you haven't had a check up. I was weighed and height taken. No questions asked.
Was that the check up?

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Joyshaw said on 27 January 2013

I have contacted my GP surgery for the past 3 consecutive years asking for a healthcheck (well woman clinic). I have no specific medical problem as far as I am aware, but at the age of 62 I feel a healthcheck would be beneficial. I have been advised that they provide a well man clinic but nothing for women. How can this be allowed in these days of equality?

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catsmum said on 07 January 2013

I just phoned my doctor's surgery and they didn't know anything about this and said there weren't any checks on the NHS. I only checked as it was mentioned in one of my magazines.

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Retired Ray said on 28 June 2012

I am now 65 bordering 66 and in good health. I have never been offered this service and there appears to be no response to the other comments to confirm that it is active and properly funded.

The idea is sound and in the longer term will save the NHS money, but it does need to be actively implemented to be effective.

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jordyjule said on 26 June 2012

I received my invite for my Free Health Check approx 2 months ago, have just rang to arrange my appointment to be told that they are no longer available. I am not very happy and will be taking this up further with my surgery this afternoon.

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martin50 said on 11 April 2012

Ive just asked my Gp surgery for a NHS health check
and the first response was"whats particularly wrong with you"
This large surgery does not offer this service ,
so yes, another meaningless initiative which is not available to ordinary mortals

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stevea107 said on 02 April 2012

I'm approaching 52 in a few weeks and I've never been invited for one of these checks. Are they just another "initiative announced by government" to catch headlines but not actually do anything? Of course PCT's are going now I think so doubt this program will survive. A Freedom of Information request might be interesting?

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hal77 said on 15 March 2012

I also wish to know if this service is currently running.

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qwertlujim said on 10 March 2012

I bet hardly anyone has been "invited". My wife specifically asked for such a check up and was told specifically that the NHS wouldn't provide such service. OK, she's only 39 but as she is approaching 40, she thought it would be timely to know what her cholesterol condition was. Surely, as a minimum, anyone should be entitled to a few simple tests to assess such fundamental conditions.

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User646587 said on 18 February 2012

Is this service actually up and running? I am 49 and have never been asked to attend and do not see a GP for any condition.

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High blood pressure has no symptoms, but if it's not treated it can damage the kidneys, heart and brain.

Media last reviewed: 22/11/2013

Next review due: 22/11/2015

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