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Charity says more Newham residents need to be tested for diabetes

11:00 21 May 2014

A charity is calling for more health checks to test for diabetes as figures reveal that only 7.4 per cent of people eligible were tested for being at risk of developing the condition.

Diabetes UK has published a report, NHS Health Checks in Local Authorities, which revealed that only 7.4pc of people aged 40 to 74 in Newham received an NHS Health Check during the period March to December 2013. It means the borough is ranked 13th out of 33 local authorities in London.

The charity says the uptake of NHS Health Checks in the borough is significantly less than the 11.25pc of people in this age range it who should be getting the check in the first nine months of the programme. It is also slightly lower than the previous year, when 7.6 per cent of eligible people were checked during the same period.

The programme assesses people for their risk of Type 2 diabetes and other serious conditions, such as heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and dementia. Although it was previously run by the NHS, this report covers the first period in which local authorities have implemented the checkd.

The NHS Health Check is the first step towards people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes getting the support they need to make changes to help prevent the condition. It should also mean a number of people who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes are likely to be identified earlier than would otherwise have been the case. In Newham there are an estimated 8,760 people with Type 2 diabetes who do not know it.

Roz Rosenblatt, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for London, said: “It’s worrying to see a fall in the uptake of the checks since the local authority took over management of the programme from the NHS.

“The NHS Health Check is one of the best new health initiatives we have seen in recent years. NHS Health Checks have the potential to make a big difference to the health of people in Newham because letting people know they are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes is a crucial first step towards making the lifestyle changes that can help prevent it.”

To find out more about Type 2 diabetes visit www.diabetes.org.uk/Type-2-diabetes.

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