EN15 NHS Health Check

EN15 NHS Health Check

This page contains a nationally negotiated template service specification (developed and agreed by PSNC, the Department of Health and NHS Employers) and associated resources on the service. LPCs and contractors are able to negotiate to provide services in accordance with this specification where a local need for the service is determined. Alternatively LPCs, contractors or the service commissioner are free to develop their own local services in response to identified needs.

In April 2008 the Department of Health (DH) published Putting prevention first. Vascular Checks: risk assessment and management which announced the development of a Vascular Risk Assessment (VRA) service across England for people aged 40 to 74 years. Two days after that announcement DH published its pharmacy White Paper, Pharmacy in England – Building on strengths, delivering the future, which highlighted the role of community pharmacy in the provision of VRA.

In April 2009 the Department of Health launched the public branding for the VRA programme – NHS Health Check.

More detail on the programme has been published in two Department of Health documents:

Putting prevention first- vascular checks: risk assessment and management – next steps guidance for primary care trusts (November 2008)

NHS Health Check: Vascular Risk Assessment and Management Best Practice Guidance (April 2009)

What is the aim of the programme?

The aim of the NHS Health Check programme is to offer a straightforward risk assessment for diseases affecting the vascular system, including diabetes and chronic kidney disease, to everyone between 40 and 74 years of age. It is expected that once fully implemented, the programme will prevent on average 1,600 heart attacks and strokes, and save at least 650 lives each year.

The longer term aims of the NHS Health Check programme are:

  • To reduce premature death from related vascular conditions including Coronary Heart Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, stroke, Transient Ischaemic Attacks and Peripheral Arterial Disease;
  • To reduce the incidence of these related vascular conditions; and
  • To narrow inequalities in premature death from these related vascular conditions.

When did it start?

The programme was introduced by PCTs from 1 April 2009; in April 2013 local authorities took over responsibility for commissioning the service.


Template service specification

PSNC has developed a template national service specification for the NHS Health Check service, working collaboratively with the Department of Health’s Vascular Team and the Medicines, Pharmacy and Industry Division. The template service specification provides a starting point for the development of local service specifications by LPCs and local authorities.

NHS Health Check template service specification (Microsoft Word)

NHS Health Check template service specification (PDF)


PSNC support for LPCs and community pharmacists

In February 2009 PSNC organised a series of seminars on VRA for LPCs across England in order to support them in making a bid for a pharmacy based VRA service in their local area.

Alongside the seminars PSNC published guidance, in three parts, for LPCs. The guidance contains a wealth of information and links relating to VRA, setting up the service, standards, assessment of costs, and much more. As this is a working resource for a new and evolving Enhanced service and the documents contain a large number of embedded links to other resources, they are only available in electronic format via the links below.

Part 1 of the guidance contains background information to support LPCs’ preparation prior to developing a local VRA service.

Part 2 supports LPCs with making the case for a VRA service commissioned from community pharmacy. It provides a step by step approach to making a bid. Not all steps may be relevant in your area, depending on local circumstances.

This section has a linked template PowerPoint presentation that will help LPCs to highlight the added value that community pharmacy can bring to the delivery of a VRA service.

Part 3 of this guide contains guidance on the use of a financial spreadsheet to assist LPCs in developing an effective bid.  The spreadsheet can be downloaded here. The introductory presentation on how to use the spreadsheet delivered by Mike Dent (Head of Finance) at the LPC seminars can be downloaded here. Queries on the use of the spreadsheet should be directed to Mike Dent.

A copy of the PowerPoint presentation used at the LPC seminars can be downloaded here.

The PSNC resource Community Pharmacy – at the Heart of Public Health describes the main public health services that are provided by community pharmacies and the evidence base for these services.


Useful resources and websites

PSNC Services Case Studies Hub

e-Learning for healthcare – NHS Health Check e-learning

Pfizer Health Partnerships – Cardiovascular disease resources (March 2017)

PSNC Think Pharmacy Prospectus: NHS Health Checks (April 2016)

Service case Study: LGA publication on NHS health checks features Lewisham community pharmacies (April 2015)

NHS Health Check website

LGA and PHE NHS Health Check FAQs

Medway School of Pharmacy – Pharmacy Health Checks Views and experiences of LPCs and pharmacists July 2015

The Professional Standards for Public Health Practice for Pharmacy provide a framework to help pharmacy teams, commissioners and those contracting services to design, implement, deliver and monitor high quality public health practice through pharmacy.

The NHS Health Check in England: an evaluation of the first 4 years

Examples of this service that have been commissioned locally are available on the PSNC services database.


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