Evaluation of the NHS Health Checks in England 2013-2017

What is the aim of the study and why is it important?

Adults in England are entitled to a free NHS Health Check to find out whether they are at risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, or dementia, and they are offered support to reduce the chance of developing these conditions. Everyone aged 40-74 who is not already being treated for these conditions can have an NHS Health Check every 5 years. It is unclear how many people are having NHS Health Checks, and which people are most likely to attend. The NHS Health Check programme started in 2009 and research found the numbers of people having NHS Health Checks was increasing over time, reaching 30% in 2012. The current study will use data up to 2017 to see whether this trend has continued. We will look at the characteristics of patients who had an NHS Health Check, such as age, sex and ethnicity, to see if any groups are missing out. We will look at whether people with severe mental illness are attending NHS Health Checks. Finally, we will look at people who are at high risk of developing diabetes and work out if interventions to reduce this risk are likely to be effective.

How is the research being done?

This study builds on previous work that looked at uptake of NHS Health Checks between 2009 and 2013. The current study will use the QResearch database to work out how many people were eligible for a health check between 2013 and 2017, and how many of these people actually had a NHS Health Check in each year of the study. We will describe the characteristics of people who did and did not attend. We will determine the number of patients who receive different medical diagnoses, treatments, or lifestyle advice as a result of having an NHS Health Check. We will also calculate the likelihood that patients will develop diabetes over time using an existing tool, see how well the tool predicts the development of diabetes, and work out how best it could be applied in clinical practice.

Chief Investigator

Julia Hippisley-Cox


University of Oxford

Location of research

University of Oxford

Date on which research approved


Project reference ID


Generic ethics approval reference


Are all data accessed are in anonymised form?


Brief summary of the dataset to be released (including any sensitive data)

The cohort include adults aged 40-74 years between 2009 and 2017. Variables includes diagnoses and medication relevant to the NHS Health Checks from GP data linked to morality and hospital data

Implications and Impact

The study will:
• Show how many people are attending NHS Health Checks and highlight groups that may be missing out.
• Calculate if there are any differences in the proportion of people with and without severe mental illness attending health checks.
• Help to find the best way to identify those patients most at risk of diabetes so that support and advice can be offered to those who most need it.

Funding Source

Department of Health Policy Research Programme

Research Team

University of Nottingham:

  • Julia Hippisley-Cox.
  • Carol Coupland.

Queen Mary University of London:

  • John Robson.

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