NHS 24 to start cyber health checks for over 40s

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About 74,000 Scots who are turning 40 will be invited to self-assess their lifestyles

All Scots who are turning 40 will be invited for a cyber health check as part of a new service from NHS 24.

About 74,000 people across Scotland will be asked to self-assess their health online or over the phone.

The Life Begins at 40 service is part of a £15m package to help people over 40 check on their health.

A four-year pilot project, backed by more than £3.5m, will also start this year to explore universal face-to-face "heart MOTs" to over 40s.

The pilot will see about 20,000 people in a number of areas across Scotland receive a check-up.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: "Life Begins at 40 will see 74,000 Scots invited to self-assess their lifestyles and think about their health this year.

"Prevention is better than cure and we are dedicated to doing all that we can to identify those at risk as early as possible.

"It's important that people are encouraged to check their health and we want to make it as easy and convenient as possible."

NHS 24 medical director Dr George Crooks said: "Turning 40 is a significant milestone and it can traditionally be a time for making new lifestyle choices.

"Many people may be reflecting on their past and considering what's ahead of them. It is an ideal, positive time for people to start thinking more about a healthy future."

'Backwards step'

However, the Scottish Liberal Democrats described the new service as "a backwards step".

Health spokesman Ross Finnie said: "NHS 24 was nearly a disaster because it tried to do too much. The purpose of NHS 24 is to deal with out-of-hours care and help with emergency care."

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has said its Keep Well programme, which currently provides health checks for over 40s in certain areas of high deprivation, is to be extended in an £11m plan to cover all of Scotland's poorest communities from 2012.

As part of this programme, health checks will also be offered to eligible carers.

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