The Community Health Checks scheme forms part of the Club’s aim to help reduce health inequalities and the life expectancy gap in the North London borough.
Launched in March 2014, and run in partnership with Haringey Council’s Public Health team and Haringey Health Champions, the unique scheme sees health checks traditionally only available at GP surgeries carried out by a Practitioner employed by Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, known as ‘the Spurs Nurse’, at pop-up clinics within bustling community hubs four days per week.
First team player and Belgian international Nacer visited one such hub at Wood Green Library, to receive his own health check and encourage more local residents to do the same.
Nacer, 25, said: “I would encourage all men to make the decision to have a health check. It doesn’t take very long and it certainly doesn’t hurt – I had one today. The important thing is that you stay healthy and in order to do that, you must have regular checks. More than 2,000 health checks have been delivered in the last year and I am very proud of the people who are taking the initiative to seek advice and are taking care of themselves.”
Public Health England figures suggest that checking 40-74-year-olds’ blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and lifestyle could identify problems earlier and prevent 650 deaths, 1,600 heart attacks and 4,000 cases of diabetes a year.
The programme, which links to the government’s ambition to save 30,000 lives a year by 2020, is designed to assess the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia, whilst also providing advice and assistance to people on how to reduce any established health risks.
The Community Health Checks initiative uses the unique appeal of a Premier League football club to help to improve early diagnosis and provides an opportunity for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to support the local community in making lifestyle adjustments by signposting them to relevant health services.
Parts of Haringey are among the most deprived areas in London, where male life expectancy is lower than the England and London average. Many residents are not registered with a GP and an estimated 3,500 people are living with undiagnosed coronary heart disease.
Targeting males aged 40 and over, the Health Checks scheme has found almost half (48 per cent) of participants had high cholesterol and four per cent were recognised as being at risk of heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. Nearly 10 per cent had pre-diabetes or diabetes with 72 per cent falling in to the category of being overweight or obese.
Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said: “We are proud to have delivered over 2,000 health checks in Haringey in less than 12 months, offering advice and support to those who need signposting to NHS services in the local area.
“It’s said that early diagnosis is key to living a long and healthy life, making it more important than ever for communities to work together to communicate this message loud and clear. Providing residents with the opportunity to access NHS health checks whilst they are doing their shopping or visiting the library has so far proven to be a successful way to engage some of the most hard-to-reach individuals within our community.
“We look forward to continuing to deliver this programme in partnership with Haringey Public Health and addressing some of the health challenges we are facing within the borough.”
Haringey Health Champions and Health Trainers support those taking part in the Health Check initiative to seek guidance and support based on their results. The team work alongside the Spurs Health Check practitioner to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of common conditions and signpost people to a range of local services, providing free, confidential one-to-one support and guidance to help people make healthier lifestyle choices.