New scheme to take health checks into the community

Ronald Nicholson, of Howdon, has blood taken by public health nurse Natalia Vasey, as part of the health checks.

Ronald Nicholson, of Howdon, has blood taken by public health nurse Natalia Vasey, as part of the health checks.

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New health checks are being offered to help protect residents from suffering serious illness in the future.

North Tyneside Council, has launched a new pilot programme, with public health nurses, to deliver a new model that aims to make it easier for residents to access health checks in their local community.

Holding the health checks in the library is much more convenient for me

Ronald Nicholson

Health checks will continue to be offered at GPs but after statistics showed some sections of the population are less likely to visit their GP, the council has developed the pilot.

Free NHS Health Checks are being offered at the borough’s Customer First Centres at North Shields and Wallsend, every Tuesday and Thursday, between 11am and 1pm.

No appointment is needed – anyone aged between 40 and 74 – can pop in and request a check up.

Coun Lesley Spillard, cabinet member for public health, said: “Everyone is at risk of developing heart disease and stroke, which remain among the biggest causes of death and can cause significant disability.

“However, we can all do something to reduce that risk – and getting a simple health check is one of them.

“We have joined up with our NHS public health nurse team to make it easier for people to access these checks by piloting them in our customer first centres in Wallsend and North Shields, both in the centre of our towns and visited regularly by people already.

“No appointment is needed so we would urge people to pop in and take a check which could potentially save your life.”

Health checks are aimed at anyone who has not previously been diagnosed with heart disease, hypertension or stroke.

It takes around 30 minutes and involves a chat with a nurse to gather answers to some questions around their personal health and lifestyle followed by some simple tests, including blood pressure, body mass index, finger stick blood test for cholesterol.

The test results are discussed with the individual and where relevant they can be provided with lifestyle advice, signposted to further support or referred to other services if required.

Resident Ronald Nicholson, of Howdon, said: “Holding the health checks in the library (Customer First Centre) is much more convenient for me – I was just walking past and didn’t need to make an appointment.

“It’s a relaxing environment, there’s no pressure to take part, and the staff are extremely friendly.”