ALMOST 15,000 people in Bracknell Forest have not been invited for a vital health check that spots early signs of several life-threatening conditions.

Adults aged between 40 and 74 in England should be invited for an NHS health check-up by their local authority every five years.

The check is designed to spot risk factors and early symptoms of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

Public Health England estimates that there are 35,870 people in Bracknell Forest who were eligible for the check in the five years to June 2019.

However, figures from the health body show just 65% of them were sent an invite by the council during that time – meaning 12,700 people missed out.

They joined at least 3.93 million others across England also not invited by their local authority, with less than three-quarters of the population asked to attend an appointment.

Some councils double-counted the residents they sent invites to, meaning the proportion actually offered an appointment could be even lower.

Nikki Joule, policy manager at Diabetes UK, said the figures were "extremely concerning".

“Local authorities have a legal duty to offer a health check to everyone who is eligible, but this clearly isn’t happening," she said.

"If left undiagnosed, diabetes can lead to sight loss, amputations, stroke and kidney failure.

"Government urgently needs to invest more money in the depleted public health grant to allow local authorities to reach more people at risk.”

Not everybody is eligible for a health check – those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions or known risk factors won't be invited as they are already receiving treatment.

Of those who were invited during the last five years in Bracknell Forest, only 45.7% attended an appointment.

That is lower than the national average of 47.4%.

Councils are legally required to try to improve the uptake rate each year.

In Bracknell Forest, the take-up rate rose last year. Of the people invited for a test between April and June, 76% took up the offer, compared to 27.2% the previous year. The rate was at its highest in 2015-16, when it was 78.8%.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said councils wanted to do more to improve uptake, particularly among high risk groups, but warned more money was needed.

He said: "Every pound invested by government in council-run services can relieve pressure on other essential services like the NHS and save much more money further down the line."

Jamie Waterall, national lead for the NHS Health Check at Public Health England, said: "The number of people attending an NHS Health Check during the first quarter of this year is up 10% on the same period last year – the highest since 2015-16.

"The check is quick and easy, providing a world-leading prevention programme, and years of ill health and thousands of lives may have been saved."