Published: 09:10, 07 January 2019
| Updated: 09:15, 07 January 2019
NHS One You teams are gearing up for a series of special events in east Kent which will provide free on-the-spot Health Checks and health ‘MOTs’ in local venues including high streets and pubs.
Throughout January, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s One You advisers will be teaming up with Wellbeing People and several enthusiastic local pubs in Thanet and Swale to offer Health Checks to their customers.
A similar NHS One You campaign had taken place in the run-up to Christmas.
Figures for these areas show that they have some of the county’s highest levels of heart failure and disease.
Along with cancer, heart and lung disease account for more than 70 per cent of premature deaths (under the age of 75) in these districts. Stroke is another major health issue across Kent and in 2017-18, there were 400 emergency hospital admissions for stroke across Swale and Thanet.
We know that prevention, and spotting and managing the early warning signs such as high blood pressure, is an important part of how we can help people to look after their own health.
While many people will already be receiving treatment from their doctor and local health services, it’s feared others may be unaware of potential health issues.
If you are aged 40 to 74-years-old and with no relevant pre-existing medical conditions, you can sign up for a free NHS Health Check for advice on keeping yourself healthy and active. Your blood pressure, height and weight will be checked.
You will be given a small finger prick test to check your blood cholesterol and you'll also be asked some questions about your lifestyle and family history. The check will identify the risk of you developing heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or dementia in the future.
“We often find that the people who need these checks don’t usually take up the offer if it means going to a GP or clinic appointment,” said Mark Cummings, One You Locality Manager for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT).
“By taking the checks to the streets and pubs of east Kent we can help more people to understand the importance of leading a healthier lifestyle.”
Health Checks are led by KCHFT and commissioned by Kent County Council.
Andrew Scott-Clark, KCC’s Director of Public Health, said: “There are many people in Thanet and Swale who are suffering from debilitating conditions and reaching the end of their life prematurely.”
“The tragedy is that many of these conditions and premature deaths can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing how much alcohol you drink and increasing physical activity.”
“High blood pressure and high cholesterol often cause no symptoms whatsoever, so unless you have a check you won’t know you have them. High blood pressure can trigger an irregular heartbeat which increases the risk of a stroke.”
He adds: “If you know that you are at risk, there are services that can help you to get on the right track and small changes to your lifestyle can really help to lower these issues, and you’ll feel fitter and healthier too.
“We don’t want to dampen anyone’s spirits during the festive period and we’re pleased the pubs are supporting as the NHS Health Checks are a good way of finding out if you are at increased risk of developing a serious condition and everyone who is entitled to one should take up the offer.”
Click here at One You Kent for advice about small changes you can make to improve your health and well-being, and find more support in your area regarding your lifestyle.
You can also sign up for a Health Check at that website or call 0300 123 1220 (option 4) to find a clinic near you.
For more information about small changes you can make to improve your health and well-being and to find a local one stop event near you, then simply click here.