Councils can do more to encourage older people to attend NHS health checks as part of their new public health role, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has said.

NICE has prepared a briefing for local government on the NHS Health Check programme, which assesses people aged 40-74 for their risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and strokes.

The programme also provides support to help prevent the conditions concerned, including advice on beneficial lifestyle changes.

Mike Kelly, director of NICE’s centre for public health, said: “One of the recommendations advises that NHS health checks can be carried out in a range of settings such as pharmacies and community centres so that they are easily accessible to as many people as possible.

“Following the advice set out in the briefing can help local authorities to tackle health inequalities and make the best and most efficient use of resources to improve the health of people in their area.”

It also suggests that councils should offer support on smoking cessation, alcohol misuse, weight control, diet and physical activity.

NICE has also issued a report on how social care bodies can better respond to incidents of domestic violence.

Unison assistant general secretary Karen Jennings said: “We welcome the new guidance to raise awareness of the issue as well as improve the response to domestic abuse.  

“But, the response will only be effective if the right support is in place. Government cuts to public services mean many refuges have had to close or reduce their number of safe places.”