NHS health checks: a cross- sectional observational study on equity of uptake and outcomes
N. Coghill, L. Garside, A. A. Montgomery, G. Feder and J. Horwood
Background: The National Health Checks programme aims to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and health inequalities in England. We assessed equity of uptake and outcomes from NHS Health Checks in general practices in Bristol, UK. Methods: A cross-sectional study using patient-level data, from 38 general practices. We descriptively analysed the socioeconomic status (SES) of patients invited and the SES and ethnicity of those attending. Logistic regression was used to test associations between invitation and attendance, with population characteristics. Results: Between June 2010 to October 2014, 31,881 patients were invited, and 13,733 NHS Health Checks completed. 47% of patients invited from the three least and 39% from the two most-deprived index of multiple deprivation quintiles, completed a Check. Proportions of invited patients, by ethnicity were 64% non-black and Asian and 31% black and Asian. Men were less likely to attend than women (OR 0.73, 95% confidence interval 0.67 to 0.80), as were patients ≤ 49 compared to ≥ 70 years (OR 0.40, 95% confidence interval 0.65 to 0.83). After controlling for SES and population characteristics, compared to patients with low CVD risk, high risk patients were more likely to be prescribed cardiovascular drugs (OR 6.2, 95% confidence interval 4.51 to 8.40). Compared to men, women (OR 01.18, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.35) were more likely to be prescribed cardiovascular drugs, as were those ≤ 49 years (50–59 years, OR 1.42, 95% confidence intervals 1.13–1.79, 60–69 years, OR 1.60, 95% confidence intervals, 1.22–2.10, ≥ 70 years, OR 1.64, 95% confidence intervals, 1.14 to 2.35). Controlling for population characteristics, the following groups were most likely to be referred to lifestyle services: younger women (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.69 to 2.94), those in the most deprived IMD quintile (OR 3.22, 95% CI 1.63 to 6.36) and those at highest risk of CVD (OR, 2.77, 95% CI 1.91 to 4.02). Conclusions: We found no statistically significant evidence of inequity in attendance for an NHS Health Check by SES. Being older or a woman were associated with better attendance. Targeting men, younger patients and ethnic minority groups may improve equity in uptake for NHS Health Checks.