Patients’ experiences of health checks in general practice: A sample survey

Jennifer Ochera, Sean Hilton, J. Martin Bland, David R. Jones, Anthony C. Dowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The 1990 contract for general practitioners in the UK offered incentives for them to organize health promotion clinics and required them to perform ‘lifestyle’ checkups of their patients every 3 years, despite uncertainty about the impact of such checks on patient health. To address this lack of appropriate evaluation, a follow-up study to assess benefits in terms of patient behaviour and health resulting from the introduction of lifestyle checkups in general practice in a sample of more than 7000 patients aged 30-70 from 18 practices in three FHSA areas (in south London, Surrey and Yorkshire) has been performed. Eighteen per cent of the random sample of patients reported having a health check in the previous year. A full health check comprising measurement of blood pressure, height and weight, urinalysis and questioning about smoking habits, alcohol consumption, exercise, diet and family illnesses had been given to 29% of respondents reporting a health check of any kind. Respondents in less privileged socioeconomic groups were more likely to have had a health check, but less likely to have had a ‘full’ check. Reactions to the checks were mainly positive; 81% regarded the check as helpful, and only 6% reported it to be worrying and 6% a waste of time. The implications for the new health promotion banding system in the UK are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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    Ochera, J., Hilton, S., Bland, J. M., Jones, D. R., & Dowell, A. C. (1994). Patients’ experiences of health checks in general practice: A sample survey. Family Practice, 11(1), 26-34.