More than 50,000 Wigan people have missed out on a vital health check

Many Wigan people are spurning a free health check
Many Wigan people are spurning a free health check

More than 50,000 Wigan people have missed out on a vital health check that spots early signs of several life-threatening conditions.

Adults aged between 40 and 74 in England should be invited for an NHS health check-up by their local authority every five years.

The check is designed to spot risk factors and early symptoms of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

Public Health England estimates that there are 86,400 people in Wigan who were eligible for the check in the five years to June 2019.

Of these, just 38.1 per cent attended an appointment during that time: meaning 53,500 went without. They joined 10 million others across England who also skipped an appointment.

Nikki Joule, policy manager at Diabetes UK, said it was extremely concerning so many were not benefiting from the check, putting them at risk of suffering the “devastating and costly complications” of diabetes in the future.

She said: “If left undiagnosed, diabetes can lead to sight loss, amputations, stroke and kidney failure, but these free, 15-minute health checks can help prevent the onset of the condition, pick up people who are undiagnosed and help to keep them healthy.”

Davinia Green, head of prevention at the Stroke Association, added: “When stroke strikes, lives change in an instant. It is important that people know their risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation, blood pressure and cholesterol – three big risk factors for stroke that the NHS health checks look for.”

In Wigan the take-up rate rose last year. Of those invited for a test from April to June, 51.4 per cent took up the offer, compared to 28.6 the previous year. The rate was at its highest in 2013-14, when it was 65.