Islands’ GPs Asked To Increase Number Of Health Checks

The Health Centre

The Health Centre

The islands’ Health Centre has been asked to provide more preventative health screening for islanders.

The National Health Check programme was introduced to Scilly in 2013, with the aim of providing a check up for at least 20% of eligible 40 to 74-year-olds each year.

The tests aim to prevent conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney problems.

At the Council’s Health and Wellbeing meeting last week, Jane Royle, the Associate Director of Public Health for the islands, told councillors that Scilly has one of the highest uptakes of the screening in the country.

89% of people invited to the Health Centre for the tests took up the offer, compared to just 48% nationally.

Cllr Richard McCarthy was pleased with the figures, saying the islands had achieved double the rate of our neighbours in Cornwall.

But Jane wanted to see more invites going out each quarter, because the practice hadn’t reached the target of 20% of the islands’ population annually.

Lead GP at the Health Centre, John Garman, said all the available slots for health checks had been used because the uptake was so high, but he felt they could add in a few more.

John said it was also hard to get to all members of the community. In summer, people are working hard so they’re not always available to come, he said, and in winter a lot of people are off the islands, due to the seasonal nature of work.

Cllr Chris Savill said availability of boats for off-islanders was also an issue in the winter.

Senior Manager for Community Services, Aisling Hick, asked whether the Council could do more to promote the service. She said it would be “a nice story” for everyone on the islands to have completed their health checks.

She suggested hosting a men’s day at the health centre to target more people, although Dr Garman said he wasn’t sure if there was enough nursing staff to cope with that.

The Public Health group has also been working with the Five Islands School to provide measurement checks for all Reception and Year 6 children in Scilly. These help identify those youngsters who may be at risk from obesity.

Jane said most children had now been recorded with just a couple of off-island school bases left to submit results.