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Cardiovascular System: Screening

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he expects the national awareness-raising campaign for vascular checks to commence; (282873)

(2) what further work his Department is undertaking on the choice of delivery options and roll-out plans for its vascular checks programme;

(3) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North Norfolk of 12 February 2009, Official Report, column 2165W, on cardiovascular system: screening, whether his Department is monitoring the settings from which vascular checks are being commissioned in each primary care trust area; and if he will make a statement.

The Government are committed to raising awareness but will consider the exact timing in light of the progress of implementing NHS Health Checks so as not to raise expectations before they can be fully met.

The Department published “Putting prevention first—vascular checks: risk assessment and management—next steps guidance for primary care trusts” on vascular checks in November 2008. It states that:

‘It is important that PCTs devise and use a model (of delivery) that is best suited to their population and that when doing so they consider tackling health inequalities that exist within their area’.

A copy of this document has been placed in the Library.

To ensure that the NHS Health Check programme is accessible to all those eligible, and to help reduce health inequalities, it has been designed so that the basic risk assessment and management components are suitable to be undertaken in a variety of settings, for example pharmacies and community centres as well as general practitioner (GP) practices. This means that people who are not in touch regularly with formal health care, particularly GP services, will be encouraged to access the checks at convenient locations and times. In addition to the guidance which the Department has already issued to primary care trusts (PCTs), it has been working with PCTs, through the Learning Network hosted by NHS Improvement, to help ensure that the experience and learning of developing and implementing different delivery models for the checks is shared across the country. The evaluation will consider the contribution that different providers of NHS Health Checks make to the delivery of the programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to inform primary care trusts of the unit costs of delivering vascular checks in different settings. (282971)

The NHS Health Check impact assessment, a copy of has been which placed in the Library, breaks down the costs of the check into two main areas: costs of the personnel who perform the assessments and costs of various testing procedures. This information could be used, with local data, to estimate the cost of providing the NHS Health Check in various settings and by different personnel.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has undertaken market research on the settings in which different categories of patients may wish to receive vascular checks. (282972)

A qualitative research project was commissioned by the Central Office of Information on behalf of the Department in October 2008 to consider the motivations and barriers to taking up an invitation to a check among higher risk groups. The primary purpose of this research was to help inform the development of the communications materials to support the NHS Health Check programme.

General practice has a central role to play in delivering the NHS Health Check programme. This is because the patient record held by the general practitioners (GPs) will be the repository of all information generated by the NHS Heath Check and also GP surgeries have always been regarded as one of the principal settings for delivery of these health checks. However, some people prefer to access these types of services in different settings for reasons of convenience and so the check has designed so that it is suitable to be undertaken in a variety of settings, for example pharmacies and community centres as well as GP practices.