Health check for health check

May 23, 1997

Fifty-thousand over-75s are taking part in a nationwide survey as researchers seek the most effective form of annual health check for the United Kingdom's elderly citizens. For the past seven years GPs have been obliged to undertake annual health checks for everyone aged over 75. But, according to Astrid Fletcher of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, these have been administered quite randomly with some doctors carrying out blanket screening while others only screen those in high-risk categories.

Now researchers at the school, Oxford University, the University of Wales, and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School are analysing 50,000 of these health checks to see which levels of checks are the most effective in terms of survival rates, quality of life and hospital admissions.

"There have been no large-scale random trials to see which screening procedures are necessary," said Dr Fletcher. "We are looking for the best overall way of delivering these health checks."

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