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Pharmacies and community centres could offer disease screening programmes in a bid to increase the uptake amongst the population, Health Secretary Alan Johnson has said.
Mr Johnson said there was a “great clinical case” for the scheme offering everyone aged 40 to 74 in England check-ups for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
“Everybody agrees that prevention is better than cure and if we are going to tackle these debilitating diseases – kidney disease, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes – we have got the ability now to put much more into prevention,” he said.
“We have to find practical ways to do it.”
Mr Johnson said the Government is expecting a 75% take-up of the scheme and pharmacies and community centres could be used to offer the programme as well as GP surgeries in a bid to increase uptake.
Government modelling suggests the new programme will prevent up to 9,500 heart attacks and strokes and save 2,000 lives every year.
GPs have warned that the Government has “not properly thought through” how such screening would be put into practice.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said in January that it would require a “significant expansion” of specialist staff and equipment in surgeries, and greatly increase the number of people needing hospital treatment.
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