Telephone outreach to enhance uptake of NHS health checks in more deprived communities

Vascular diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and chronic kidney disease are a major cause of early death, ill-health and disability in England. They are more common in deprived populations and some minority ethnic groups, and contribute significantly to inequalities in health.

The NHS Health Checks programme is a mandatory public health service to help prevent vascular conditions. Patients aged between 40 and 74 are invited every five years for a Health Check, to assess their risk of developing vascular conditions. The service also provides support to help reduce risk, through healthier lifestyles, including avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight, and being active, and where appropriate, drug treatment for patients at high risk.

GP practices are the main provider of Health Checks, generally inviting patients by letter. Outreach Health Check services also exist, to encourage uptake among communities where risk of vascular disease is higher, and where patients are less likely to respond to an invitation to attend.

In Bristol telephone outreach Health Check services have been developed in more deprived areas, between voluntary and community sector partners and GP practices. This involves community outreach workers or interpreters working in GP practices, phoning patients to engage them with the Health Checks programme. Through in-depth interviews, this research will explore patient and outreach workers views and experiences of telephone outreach approaches for NHS Health Checks in Bristol.

Project aims

This study aims to explore the delivery, acceptability and impact of telephone outreach for NHS Health Checks. It will do this through understanding the experiences, attitudes and views of patients and the community workers delivering telephone outreach services

Anticipated impacts

This research could lead to improved uptake and effectiveness of the NHS Health Checks programme in communities with greater health needs. Another anticipated impact is more adults motivated to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of long term conditions, and accessing support to help them do so. We also anticipate improved understanding of the potential for telephone outreach in other public health interventions.

Lead collaborators

Partners on this project

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) is the organisation responsible for commissioning hospital and community health services to ensure that the health needs of BNSSG's population are met. It is made up of local GPs and health professionals from the 85 local practices, working together with other clinicians and patients to decide how the local NHS budget should be spent.

University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is internationally renowned and one of the very best in the UK, due to its outstanding teaching and research, its superb facilities and highly talented students and staff. Its students thrive in a rich academic environment which is informed by world-leading research. It hosts the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research.