Over-40s in England can now book a free ‘health MOT’ at Boots.
The 15-minute check-up, which is being offered in 1,000 stores in England from today, will check blood pressure.
Anyone with a high reading — meaning they face a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke — will be referred to their GP.
BMI and waist circumference measurements might also be taken if customers wish to do so.
They will then receive personalised advice and recommendations on how to live a healthier lifestyle through exercise and diet.
The free 15-minute Boots check-up can be booked in 1,000 stores in England in a move the chain claims will help reduce pressure on the NHS
The health MOT will include a blood pressure check and some optional tests to check if a person is overweight
Boots said the scheme could help reduce pressure on the NHS, which is struggling with record backlogs and unprecedented demand.
Claire Nevinson, superintendent pharmacist at Boots, said: ‘The Free Health MOT at Boots is intended to help people gain greater insight into their health and take the steps they need to improve it.
‘As we get older, we become more vulnerable to conditions like high blood pressure, so it’s important that we take steps to help stay healthy.
‘The checks done during the MOT and the advice provided not only helps individual patients lead healthier lives but also reduces pressure on the NHS by offering accessible care in pharmacies at the heart of communities.’
It is hoped the campaign, which runs until June, will help those suffering with high blood pressure to get treated earlier.
Symptoms of the condition are hard to spot in day-to-day life, which it why it is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’.
High blood pressure is estimated to kill just over 200 Britons a day, with the daily toll rising to nearly 1,370 in the US.
But between six to eight million Brits are thought to be living with undiagnosed, and therefore uncontrolled, high blood pressure.
Once diagnosed people can then be encouraged to make lifestyle changes such as cutting down on salt and exercising more to bring their high blood pressure, also called hypertension, under control.
GPs can also prescribe people medication to help manage their blood pressure.
What is heart disease?
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death in the UK and worldwide and is sometimes called ischaemic heart disease or coronary artery disease.
- Chest pain (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain throughout the body
- Feeling faint
- Feeling sick (nausea)
Not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before coronary heart disease is diagnosed.
- Blood tests
- Treadmill test
- Radionuclide scan
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Coronary angiography
- Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and stopping smoking
- Angioplasty – where balloons and stents are used to treat narrow heart arteries
The Boots health MOT, which will be with a pharmacist, includes:
- The NHS Blood Pressure Check Service, with a GP referral if needed
- Optional BMI and waist circumference measurement
- Lifestyle guidance on exercise, nutrition, sleep, mental wellbeing and how to stop smoking
At the end of their appointment, patients will receive a booklet containing information about how to lead a healthy lifestyle and a section with the results of their MOT recorded.
The idea behind the free MOT was sparked by research, commissioned by Boots, which suggested that 68 per of people want to feel healthier, with this increasing to 73 per cent for the over-40s.
Such MOTs are not a new concept, with NHS England introducing its own version in 2009.
However, such campaigns have not gone without criticism.
The checks were accused of being ‘ineffective’ and wasting £450million ($547million) a year in a 2015 report by the London School of Economics and the University of Liverpool.
This NHS check was also offered to over-40s but unlike the Boots version they cut off at 74-years-old.
Patients registered with a GP are invited to attend 30-minute appointments every five years to monitor their risk of conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The NHS health MOT programme offers:
- A chat about your lifestyle and family history
- Measure your height and weight
- Blood pressure check
- Blood tests
- Personalised lifestyle guidance
Despite a study of more than 450,000 people finding those who attended the MOTs were slimmer, less likely to smoke and have lower blood pressure years later, a 2014 review found illnesses spotted during the checks could be ‘equally well detected’ via standard care.
Over-75s in England get a specific regular routine check up with their GP.
These cover a variety of health issues, from checking blood pressure to early signs of dementia, though many older people also take the appointment as an opportunity to ask a health professional about any health concerns they have.