HEALTH checks in Dorset are ‘hit and miss’ - the county’s health and wellbeing board has been told.

Although the “midlife Mot” for those 40-plus is supposed to be offered across the country in parts of Dorset it is not being offered at all.

In some cases local Primary Care Networks have said they do not have the resources to deliver the checks, while in areas where they are being offered those queuing to take them up has been overwhelming.

The meeting heard that a recent health check event in Broadstone had attracted 300-400 people, resulting in queues for car parking, while Blandford councillor Byron Quayle said he had seen no evidence at all of the checks in his area.

“Not only do we have a low turn-out, we have no turn-out. I did challenge the Primary Care Network and they said they just didn’t have the capacity,” he said.

The county’s director of public health, Sam Crowe, said there were many problems, including finance, with the checks which had only recently resumed following the Covid period.

He argued that the checks, which look at blood pressure, weight, lifestyle and cholesterol, should be better targeted with a concentration on places, especially poorer areas, where there was known problems which were more likely to result in cardiovascular and other health problems, including diabetes.

He said statistics had shown around 3 per cent of the 40-74 age group were likely to have problems in wealthier areas, compared to 20 per cent, or more, in places where people were struggling.

The director said in East Dorset, Mid Dorset and Weymouth and Portland the service was “patchy” and he would like to see more checks carried out in North Bournemouth, Central Bournemouth and Bournemouth East.

Dr Paul Johnson, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Dorset, supported the idea of targeting the checks but said that more could be done, across Dorset, to roll out at least part of the full check to more of the population.

He suggested using every opportunity to take a simple blood pressure reading for those in the age group, or thought to be at risk – at Covid, or flu jab clinics, and at public events being held to promote healthy living, or even targeting key areas where it was thought the risk was likely to be higher.

Mr Crowe said that although checks should be offered in all areas, every five years, there was no national “call and recall” system in place and whether the checks were carried out was often down to the goodwill, or capacity of GP practices, to arrange them.

He said that to counter this a third of the local budget for the checks had now been diverted to Live Well Dorset, away from Primary Care Networks, for them to run an outreach programme, especially in areas where people were less likely to engage.

On-site programmes had also been arranged for staff at Dorset Council, BCP Council and local NHS trusts, which may be rolled out to other large employers.

More information about the NHS health checks can be found on the Live Well Dorset website - The organisation also have a Facebook page where it shares health information, including where it is running health check drop-ins, which have recently included Boscombe, Weymouth and Portland.