Middle-aged men will be at the heart of the new health screening programme announced by prime minister Gordon Brown in January.
The screening programme, or “health MOTs” as they have been described in some quarters, will target middle-aged men and those vulnerable to disease, in particular heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
Such diseases between them kill around 200,000 people a year, and account for a fifth of all hospital admissions, the government said.
Brown said the NHS of the future had to put a much greater emphasis on prevention and providing care more flexibly, particularly out of office hours.
The ageing of the population and the health needs that creates were also issues that needed to be addressed more closely, he argued.
Over the next few months, health secretary Alan Johnson would be setting out plans to introduce a series of tests on the NHS to identify vulnerability to heart and circulation problems, he said.
“So there will soon be check-ups on offer to monitor for heart disease, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease,” Brown said.
“And we will extend the availability of diagnostic procedures in the GP surgery – making blood tests, ECGs and in some cases, ultrasounds available and on offer not only when you are acutely unwell or if you can pay, but when you want and need them, where you need them, at the local surgery,” he added.
In a separate development, the government has said every hospital trust in England will be able to recruit two infection control nurses, two isolation nurses and an antimicrobial pharmacist as part of a new drive to tackle healthcare associated infections.