United Kingdom

NHS will carry out health 'MOTs' at Covid booster vaccine appointments this autumn

The NHS will carry out 'health MOT' checks for heart health at Covid booster vaccine and flu jab appointments this autumn.

The health service claims it could prevent more than 1,000 strokes simply by checking heart rhythms once a year in everyone over 65 and it plans to carry out a range of tests when people return for their third Covid or flu jabs later this year.

Willing volunteers will have their blood pressure, heart rhythm and cholesterol screened to check whether they are at risk of heart disease or stroke.

Everyone aged over 50 in Britain is expected to be offered a third jab in the autumn in an attempt to eradicate the threat from Covid infection entirely by Christmas.

Trials for topping up people who have had two doses already are currently under way and it's hoped the three-jab approach could make immunity last longer.

And separate trials have also started to test new vaccines specifically designed to deal with new variants, which could be administered at third dose appointments. 

NHS figures last week revealed that a staggering five million people are on the waiting list for routine treatment and doctors fear that thousands more people neglected their health or ignored symptoms during the pandemic. 

The NHS will carry out 'MOT' checks for heart health at Covid booster vaccine and flu jab appointments this autumn. (Pictured: A woman receives her vaccine from a member of the military)

The number of people on the NHS waiting lists has hit its highest ever number of 5.12million

Free health MOTs had been on offer once every five years at people's GP surgeries but were paused in 2020.

Surgeries turned their attention to treating coronavirus patients during the first and second waves, cancelling thousands of non-urgent procedures.  

Medics will now bring them back in the hope that simple checks taking only a few minutes could flag warning signs of common conditions that people might not know they have.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol or an irregular or fast or slow heartbeat can all be easily detectable warning signs of a serious problem such as heart disease.

The tests could require a small blood sample (cholesterol), a pulsometer placed on the finger to measure the heart rate and an inflatable cuff on the upper arm to measure blood pressure. 

Heart disease and stroke are two of the biggest killers in the UK.      

Statistics released last week revealed the true extent of the NHS backlog, with almost 65,000 patients waiting at least 18 months for routine operations, such as hip and knee replacements.

Around 2,700 patients have not been treated within two years.

Announcing the scheme today, NHS chief operating officer Amanda Pritchard said the plans to reintroduce MOTs would allow the health service to 'make every contact count'.

She said: 'The NHS is not just a sickness service but a health service which is why we want to make every contact count, using every opportunity to keep people well rather than just seeking to make them better.

'We want to offer a fully integrated care system, where we can reach out to people in the communities they live in — not just diagnosing and treating conditions, but working in partnership with the public and intervening before advanced disease occurs, keeping people healthy and well.

'The hugely successful NHS vaccine programme has given us the opportunity to make every contact count by going out into peoples' communities to beat coronavirus while also catching other killer conditions.

'The checks — like the jabs — will be available in convenient locations in local communities including village halls, churches, mosques and local sports centres and prevent people becoming seriously ill.'

Matt Hancock confirms Covid vaccines WILL be compulsory for care home workers 

Matt Hancock has today confirmed Covid vaccinations will be made compulsory for care home staff despite backlash from unions and industry bosses.

The Health Secretary told MPs that carers will have to have a jab in order to 'protect residents'.

The move comes after Whitehall sources last night leaked the plans, which were expected to be announced later in the week.

And critics today slammed the proposals, saying the move will force many to 'walk away'. They said mandatory jabs could worsen the social sector's staffing crisis.

The policy will see 1.5million people working in social care told to get inoculated within 16 weeks — or face losing their jobs.

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