UCLan to facilitate community health checks
Qualification will allow for vital health checks in non-clinical environments
An academic from The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has developed a qualification which would enable more people to undergo vital health checks in non-clinical environments.
The Certificate of Competency in Health Checks Assessments will provide training for leisure industry staff to equip them with the skills and knowledge required to complete preventative health checks on members of the public, as part of the NHS Health Check Programme.
It has been developed by Simon Alford, Senior Lecturer in Preventative Medicine at UCLan, with the support of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).
The health checks were introduced in 2008 by the Secretary of State for Health to help identify the early signs of conditions including high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and dementia in people aged between 40 – 74. They are normally carried out by GPs.
Only 50 per cent of people eligible undergo the checks, which are offered every five years, but the NHS is calling for them to be carried out in non-clinical environments, such as supermarkets and football grounds.
The Certificate of Competency in Health Checks Assessments would enable staff at such venues to perform the checks.
"Some GP surgeries simply don’t have the resources or time to enable enough people to have these important health checks."
Simon Alford said: “There are groups within communities which do not regularly, if at all, engage with their local NHS services or visit their GP. Some GP surgeries simply don’t have the resources or time to enable enough people to have these important health checks.
“This is worrying because it means there’s many people with conditions which aren’t being detected and therefore treated.
“If there were more places within local communities where people could feel comfortable going, including places they regularly visit such as supermarkets and leisure centres, then this would hopefully increase the amount of people who engage, meaning early detection or prevention of conditions.”
Elly McFahn, managing director of Brio Leisure which operates 11 leisure centres in the North West, said: “Brio Leisure delivers a range of public health services and it is important to provide these services where people most need them, including health solutions through community settings such as leisure centres.
“If organisations such as ours were certified to deliver health checks, this would provide comfort to the medical profession and end users that the service was delivered to industry standards.”