People at risk of developing a range of serious health conditions are being urged to have a NHS Health Check, as part of a countywide campaign to help Norfolk residents live longer, healthier lives.
Launched on Friday (January 3), the awareness-raising campaign by Norfolk County Council is being supported with radio, press and poster advertising across the county – encouraging people to look after their long-term health.
The key message for this year’s campaign is to look after your health, so you ‘don’t miss out on life’s precious moments’, such as: a new baby, graduation, wedding, or holiday of a lifetime. A quick and easy step towards achieving this is having a free NHS Health Check.
Everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease or stroke – but the good news is they can often be prevented. Norfolk County Council Public Health funds NHS Health Checks for residents aged 40 to 74 who have not already been diagnosed with one of the above conditions.
An NHS Health Check takes up to 30 minutes and you can have a free health check once every five years. They are available in most GP surgeries and at over 50 pharmacies across Norfolk.
Under the scheme, many people will be automatically invited to their GP surgery to have a check, but you can also book an appointment yourself if you don’t want to wait. If your GP doesn’t offer a free NHS Health Check service, you can also book a check through participating pharmacies.
The health check records blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels and blood sugar. This helps to assess your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease or diabetes.
Checks also include tailored lifestyle advice on heart disease risk factors such as: smoking, high blood pressure, alcohol consumption, high cholesterol, obesity, poor diet (including high salt intake) and physical inactivity.
This year’s NHS Health Checks campaign aims to reach Norfolk residents through a variety of targeted methods, including: digital advertising; print advertising in newspapers and magazines; and radio advertising on all commercial radios stations in Norfolk. Outdoor advertising includes: bus advertising, posters at petrol stations/convenience stores and on petrol pump nozzles.
Health checks will also be promoted outside participating pharmacies and GPs.
Norfolk’s health check programme started in 2010, with the number of GPs and pharmacies signing up to offer the checks increasing every year. Last year over 22,500 people in Norfolk had an NHS Health Check.
Cllr Dan Roper, Cabinet member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “You may feel healthy but everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease or stroke. The good news is they can often be prevented. A simple health check can help identify your risk factor and take early action to live a longer and healthier life. That’s why we want to encourage as many people as possible to take up this opportunity.”
George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council, who helped to promote the NHS Health Checks scheme earlier this year, added: “I was asked to have a health check at the Royal Norfolk Show and was delighted to be told that I was okay. I urge everyone to take advantage of this – it only takes a few minutes.”
Lucy Macleod, Interim Director of Public Health at Norfolk County Council, said: “The health of people in Norfolk varies considerably, depending on where they live. People in the most deprived areas of the county are the most likely to become disabled or die at a younger age, but it does not have to be this way. Much of the risk can be reduced by early identification of problems and by changing eating, drinking and smoking habits.
“The NHS Health Check programme is a vital part of our work to help Norfolk people - wherever they live in the county - to live longer, healthier lives. The check only takes 30 minutes, so it’s quick and easy to fit it into their daily routine, but that half an hour has the potential to add years to their lives.”
For more information about NHS Health Checks in Norfolk visit: www.norfolkslivingwell.org.uk/nhshealthchecks