Headlines: March 30th, 2001

Pilot schemes offering health checks for people retiring from work will begin next week as part of the National Service Framework for Older People. The framework sets national standards for preventing illness and improving care among older people and provides a blueprint for care services across England over the next decade.The pilots will take different approaches which could include checks and advice on bloodpressure, fuel and heating, fitness level, diet, immunisation and screening programmes. Research shows that many current health activities fail to cater for people who have retired and that health checks or information are seldom offered to employees before retirement. The pilots will test different ways of targeting health checks at people aged 50-65 who are approaching, or just past, retirement and who do not have access to pre-retirement help from their employers.

High blood pressure is one of the risk factors for heart disease and undiagnosed high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack. Its early detection, and appropriate treatment, along with advice on the lifestyle factors which increase risk, can help older people entering retirement to live longer and healthier.