Wednesday 27 August 2014

Operational Update from PHE: NHS Health Checks in the North East

This month’s NHS Health Check e-Bulletin focuses in on the North East of England: a region that’s becoming widely known for its pioneering approaches to delivering public health programmes.

In the Operational update, Jamie Waterall – National NHS Health Check Lead – gives a snapshot of the innovative work that’s going on in places like Newcastle, Tees and County Durham. With these areas ranking in the lowest third of local authorities in terms of premature mortality, reaching deprived and high-risk communities has been a crucial priority for those involved in the NHS Health Checks. 

As the update outlines, the region is particularly effective at using targeted methods to access hard-to-reach groups. From Gateshead’s ‘community incentive scheme’ to County Durham’s unmistakable Check4Life bus (pictured right), Waterall’s overview paints a picture of innovation and enthusiasm for a programme that’s accessing those most at risk of CVD. What's more, with these local authorities now being cited by Public Health England as examples of what can be achieved when stakeholders are fully engaged, the North East’s model is set to be widely replicated. 

For those on the front line, an extensive support network has been essential to delivering health checks that empower people to take control of their health and lifestyle. As is recognised by the region’s public health directorate, this represents an important factor in coordinating projects that spearhead the evolution of best practice.

A key component in the North East's support network has been the IT and data management infrastructure supplied by Health Diagnostics. As Waterall notes in his update, he was ‘particularly impressed with the IT system’ used by County Durham’s community outreach programme ‘which is able to systemically collect and transfer data from the NHS Health Check back to general practice’. To view a video of a Check4Life provider delivering a consultation using the system, click here.

County Durham have recently put the same system into a number of general practices within the local authority in order to ensure consistency across all providers. This means that regardless of whether health checks are carried out in community venues or by GPs, the service is delivered to the same high standard. Those that have had a health check in the area will recognise the front cover of the personal report (pictured left) which is issued by all providers following a health check.

You can read Jamie Waterall’s Operational Update in full by following this link. These e-Bulletins offer regular insight into the national programme and are well worth signing up to, particularly for those involved with the organisation and delivery of health checks. More detailed information on the approach of the local authorities featured in this post can be found in the published findings from last year's NHS Health Check Leadership Forum.