NHS: Standards

Health written question – answered on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidential basis is for the use of models of risk prediction for the NHS Health Check.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

The NHS Health Check programme is a universal and systematic programme for everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 that will assess individuals' risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes and will support people to reduce or manage that risk through individually tailored advice. The programme was developed on the basis of advice from the National Screening Committee, is based on guidance produced by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and is both cost effective and clinically effective.

The risk assessment stage of the NHS Health Check uses a risk engine to calculate a person's 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease. Evidence on cardiovascular risk estimation has developed considerably, with a number of risk engines available, including Framingham and QRISK. These have been calibrated to reflect risk factors within specific populations, such as ethnicity, and a number of scientific reviews have been published on their validity. The Department takes its advice from NICE on matters such as which risk engines are most appropriate for the national health service to use. NICE has recently revised its guidance to allow the NHS to decide locally which risk engine best predicts risk for their population mix.

Of equal importance however is that people are given individually tailored advice and the necessary follow up which is suitable for their particular circumstances to help them manage or reduce their risk. The advice, interventions and follow-up that are offered will involve professional judgment and will help ensure that everyone's individual needs are met.

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