Visitors to one of the world’s largest Vaisakhi celebrations will be offered a potentially life-saving health ‘MOT’ later this month.
And health officials hope to carry out hundreds of FREE NHS Health Checks at the massive Vaisakhi Mela in Handsworth Park on April 26.
The free checks identify the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease and though take up is higher in Birmingham than in most other parts of the country, it is lower than average in South Asian communities.
Now officials aim to remedy that situation as an army of health professionals has volunteered to carry out up to 1,000 checks at the Vaisakhi Mela.
Dr Sukhdev Singh, who has pulled together a team of doctors, nurses and other health officials, said: “This is a massive event – there will be approximately 80,000 in Handsworth Park and a large number of those people would benefit from an NHS Health Check.
“We know that a large proportion of the South Asian population do not visit their GP for preventative health care. We’re aiming to pick up disease at an early stage, so we can offer interventions and therefore reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes.
“This will be unprecedented in its scale – previous mass events have managed to see around 100 people but we’re looking to carry out between 500 and 1,000 health checks.”
Birmingham Public Health’s Lead Public Health Nurse, Elaine George, added: “The NHS Health Check service is successfully delivered through GPs across the city but we appreciate that this will inevitably miss some people. So we’re hoping that by offering the checks at Vaisakhi we’ll reach many people who don’t regularly visit their GP.
“I’d urge anyone in the target age group (40-74) to take up this offer. The check will take just 20 minutes and could prolong or even save your life.”
The Health Checks will be carried out in a special marquee in Handsworth Park. Patients will be given a handout of their results and advice on what to do next if a health issue is identified.
Dr Singh then plans to monitor the results with a view to future mass screenings at other community events in Birmingham.
NHS Health Check and you
The NHS Health Check is for adults in England between the ages of 40 and 74. It will give you and your GP a clearer picture of your health, and help you take action to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.
Why do I need an NHS Health Check?
Everyone has a chance of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease or type 2 diabetes. NHS Health Check will help you and your GP or health professional to identify your risk earlier. You’ll then be given advice on what action you can take to lower your risk and improve your chances of a healthier life. For example, making changes to your diet or becoming more active.
How do I get an NHS Health Check?
From April 2013, responsibility for the NHS Health Check programme moved to your local authority, which will invite anyone who is eligible to have a check over a five-year rolling cycle. That means everyone aged between 40 and 74 who hasn’t already been diagnosed with any of the conditions mentioned above will be invited for an NHS Health Check.
In the meantime, if you’re worried about your health, don’t wait for your NHS Health Check. Contact your GP in the usual way.
What happens at my NHS Health Check?
A few, straightforward health tests, followed by a discussion of your results.
What happens after my check?
Following your first check, you’ll be invited for another check every five years until you’re over 74. If you’re diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or have a stroke after your first or any subsequent NHS Health Check, your condition will be managed as usual and there will be no need for further checks. If your GP offers you any medical treatments after your NHS Health Check, such as medicines to lower your blood pressure, your progress on those medicines will be monitored by your GP.
To find out more about NHS Health Checks go to: http://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/