PUBLIC health bosses have made changes to the delivery of NHS Health Checks as a report reveals only 16 per cent of eligible people in Bournemouth had participated in the scheme.

Figures collated by Medicspot, an online GP service, showed Bournemouth had the second worst percentage attendance in the ‘health MOTs’.

Out of the 53,762 people in the town who could take part in the programme, 33 per cent were offered a free NHS Health Check between 2014 and 2019.

Despite this, only 16 per cent of those eligible in Bournemouth received a NHS Health Check.

In Poole, 56,760 people were eligible and out of 27,607 offers, only 14,346 people booked in for the scheme. A participation of 25.27 per cent.

The wider Dorset area had a participation of 29.03 per cent from a possible 126,599 participants.

Dr Johnson D’souza, medical director and GP at Medicspot, said: “People aged 40 to74 who don’t get a Health Check every five years are at an increased risk of undetected cardiovascular disease.

“By checking your blood pressure, lifestyle, family history, height and weight, we can get an idea of your risk of getting certain illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“It is very worrying that only 16 per cent of people who were eligible for a free NHS Health Check in Bournemouth took up the offer.”

The government announced it plans to replace the scheme with a digital version that makes use of technology to save people needing to book face-to-face appointments with their GP.

In June, researchers revealed free NHS checks reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study found that over a six-year period, participants of the Health Check programme had lost weight, lowered blood pressure and fewer were smokers.

A Public Health Dorset spokesperson said: “The recent Prevention Green Paper proposes a review of what the NHS Health Check programme should look like in the next 10 years.

“This announcement does not mean stopping delivery of the programme. There are no plans to end NHS Health Checks in Dorset.

"Many residents aged between 40 and 74 without pre-existing conditions will receive a letter from their GP informing them of the opportunity to attend a Health Check, but you do not need to have received a letter to book yours.

“We are aware that the uptake of NHS Health Checks has been low in parts of Dorset. In response to this, we’ve taken measures to introduce a different delivery model from April 2019 which enables eligible people to choose to have their NHS Health Check from a number of providers (pharmacies and GP practices) across Dorset.

"We’re also implementing targeted campaigns in certain areas where uptake is particularly low to encourage more people to attend their NHS Health Check.”