Background: The UK is embarking on a national cardiovascular risk assessment programme called NHS Health Checks; in order to be effective, high and equitable uptake is paramount.
Methods: A cross-sectional study, using data extracted from electronic medical records of persons aged 35-74 years estimated to be at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, to examine the uptake of the Health Checks using logistic regression and statin prescribing.
Results: A total of 44.8% of high risk patients invited for a Health Check attended. Uptake was lower among younger men but higher among patients from south Asian (AOR = 1.71 [1.29-2.27] compared with white) or mixed ethnic backgrounds (AOR = 2.42 [1.50-3.89]), and patients registered with smaller practices (AOR = 2.53 [1.09-5.84] <3000 patients compared with 3000-5999). The percentage of patients confirmed to be at high risk of CVD prescribed a statin increased from 24.7 to 44.8%.
Conclusions: Uptake of cardiovascular risk assessment and prescribing of statins in high risk patients was considerably lower than projected in the first year of NHS Health Checks programme. Targeting efforts to increase uptake and adherence to interventions in high risk populations and reinvesting resources into population wide strategies to reduce obesity, smoking and salt intake may prove more cost-effective in reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in the UK.