The government has promised free health checks to everyone over 40 but how can PCTs ensure they are providing them effectively, and what role can pharmacies play in carrying out health MoTs?

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Two years ago the government announced that every person in the country would benefit from a regular and free cardiovascular health check once they reach 40 [1] and its place in the forthcoming NHS Constitution will enshrine access to health checks every five years as a legal right.[2]

According to experts, up to 9,500 heart attacks and strokes could be prevented and 2,000 lives saved each year if patients were diagnosed earlier.[1]

Data from the Office for National Statistics estimates that 25 million people in the UK are projected to fall into the 40-74 year age category [3] and therefore every primary care trust will need to undertake 20,000 NHS health checks a year on average.

This HSJ webinar looks at how pharmacies can provide an ideal location in which to offer and carry out cardiovascular health checks and can help PCTs target their hard to reach populations.

Who should watch?

  • PCT commissioning managers
  • Finance directors
  • Primary care/practice-based commissioners
  • Pharmacy managers
  • Public health directors

Issues addressed include:

  • How PCTs can ensure they are providing patients with health checks and securing value for money in the challenging economic times ahead
  • Targeting hard to reach groups in the community
  • Providing health checks in local pharmacies
  • Subcontracting with pharmacies to provide health checks

Pfizer has developed a commercial service that provides health checks to pharmacies in the community. The service has been piloted in seven pharmacies throughout the country and is now available to all PCTs. It includes a comprehensive solution to implement an NHS Health Check programme including the equipment, training, IT and data collection, quality control and data audit and the promotional materials to use in-store. The solution can be tailored to the needs of an individual PCT.

This HSJ webinar explores the feasibility of pharmacies undertaking these tests, whether they can be effective at reaching hard-to-reach populations and if they genuinely provide a quality service which both reaches the relevant cohorts with appropriate support and also drives the hard-to-reach individuals to interact with their GP where appropriate.

The panel includes:

  • Dr Fran Sivers, Chief Executive of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, and specialist in prevention of CVD
  • Sam Tambra, a pharmacist who participated in the pilot
  • Jon Scholefield, Head of Pfizer’s Vascular Health Check Service
  • Tim Evans, Chief Executive Bolton PCT


1. Department of Health press release 1 April 2008. Vascular checks will prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes. (last accessed 04.05.2010)

2. Department of Health Press Release 08/03/10 (last accessed 04.05.2010)

3. Figures calculated from Office of National Statistics online data. (last accessed 04.05.2010)

VHC-019 A Date of Preparation: May 2010