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Britons not making use of free health checks, research indicates


Britons not making use of free health checks, research indicates

Research presented in September by pharmaceutical manufacturer Stada indicates that UK adults can’t find the time to attend “potentially lifesaving” health checks, with four in 10 saying they have attended no health checks in the past year.

The report is based on responses from 32,000 respondents across 16 European countries, including 2,000 UK adults. While the finding on health checks is roughly in keeping with the European average, the data suggests that when it comes to certain conditions the UK has significant room for improvement, with 31 per cent of British women saying they had attended a smear test compared to 71 per cent Europe-wide.

Barriers to attending checks included discomfort with physical examinations, not knowing which tests to prioritise and not wanting to hear bad news. Interestingly, the ‘head in the sand’ barrier appears to me more common in countries like the Netherlands that report healthier lifestyle behaviours on the whole.

The Stada research also found that 71 per cent of UK patients would consider paid services involving conversations around nutritional health in their local pharmacy, while 64 per cent are open to consultations on “taboo topics”.

Asked what they viewed as particularly important offerings in their local pharmacy, 88 per cent cited vaccinations, 84 per cent cited online ordering and 83 per cent cited health check ups such as blood pressure readings or skin type tests.

Across Europe, 24 per cent of respondents said they were worried about the impact medicine supply disruptions are having on healthcare, while rampant inflation has led to 25 per cent cutting back their personal health spending. 

Speaking to P3pharmacy after the launch of the publication, Stada chief executive Peter Goldschmidt said the pharmaceutical industry has been lobbying European governments on supply issues for several years but suggested politicians need to think on a more long-term basis.:

“We talk about how we should have more medical production in Europe and not depend so much on China – awesome idea. So where is the business plan to bring back all this production to Europe?”

The difficulties patients across Europe faced in accessing children’s paracetamol products point to the challenges we may encounter without stronger political action, said Goldschmidt.

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