Background: The NHS Health Check programme aims to improve prevention, early diagnosis and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in England. High and equitable uptake is essential for the programme to effectively reduce the CVD burden.
Objectives: Assessing the impact of a local financial incentive scheme on uptake and statin prescribing in the first 2 years of the programme.
Methods: Cross-sectional study using data from electronic medical records of general practices in Hammersmith and Fulham, London on all patients aged 40-74 years. We assessed uptake of complete Health Check, exclusion of patients from the programme (exception reporting) and statin prescriptions in patients confirmed with high CVD risk.
Results: The Health Check uptake was 32.7% in Year 1 and 20.0% in Year 2. Older patients had higher uptake of Health Check than younger (65- to 74-year-old patients: Year 1 adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.05 (1.67-2.52) & Year 2 AOR 2.79 (2.49-3.12) compared with 40- to 54-year-old patients). The percentage of confirmed high risk patients prescribed a statin was 17.7% before and 52.9% after the programme. There was a marked variation in Health Check uptake, exception reporting and statin prescribing between practices.
Conclusions: Uptake of the Health Check was low in the first year in patients with estimated high risk despite financial incentives to general practices; although this matched the national required rate in second year. Further evaluations for cost and clinical effectiveness of the programme are needed to clarify whether this spending is appropriate, and to assess the impact of financial incentives on programme performance.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; primary care; primary prevention; risk assessment; screening..