Health check stories

People benefit in many ways from their Keep Well health check including:

  • peace of mind that they're in good health, or reassurance about something that's worrying them
  • realistic advice about healthy eating or exercise
  • contact with people who can help them with issues like stopping smoking – or with advice about benefits, money or returning to work.

Even if a health problem is found, your practice can start treating or controlling it – rather than leave it to get worse, undetected and untreated.

Because of all that, most people find the Keep Well health check a positive experience and a good opportunity to improve their health and lifestyle.

Eileen's story: peace of mind

 

Read Eileen from Airdrie's transcript, talking about her Keep Well health check.

How did you find out that you could get a Keep Well health check?

I found out about the Keep Well project initially because a letter dropped through the letterbox saying that I was of a specific age and inviting me to come along.

What I felt when I got the letter inviting me was - in my family, on my father’s side there is a history of heart disease. So in the family side of things when people get to on or around their 55th birthday that’s when the heart disease seems to kick in - and they seem to, most of them seem to have died before the age of 55. And I vividly remember my father from 54 ‘til he passed his birthday at 55 worrying about the fact that he probably wouldn’t live beyond then.

Why did you go for your health check?

So I didn’t want to be like that, and I thought - well if this test shows me that there’s a hereditary problem, which is one of the things the girl had explained, you know the cholesterol checks.

If I needed to have a second cholesterol check it would show was it hereditary or was it something you needed medication for. Then obviously I could get something to deal with that, so that I wouldn’t be in that position. So I went from being ‘I don’t really know if it is going to be up to much’ to thinking ‘it is going to be of use to me’.

How do you feel about the health check?

My experience of the Keep Well health check I feel was very, very positive. I felt very comfortable from the minute I got there ‘til I left. I didn’t feel that the nurse I was speaking to was watching a time thinking that there’s somebody coming. I mean I could have sat there and spoke to her for a couple of minutes if I’d wanted, or 5 or 10 minutes - which in fact I did.

What happened when you went for your healthcheck?

We spoke about not just the Keep Well but we spoke about other issues, like you know, the dieting and what have you - and I got a bit of advice from her.

I changed in terms of what I was doing with my diet, I changed. I changed that to reflect the things we had talked about that were good and bad, like your fish - try to have fish in your diet, try to have veg, fruit. Which was one of the things I mean - I just see fruit as an apple or an orange or something but she did explain to be that there is tinned fruit, because I am not a fruit person.

And tinned fruit and frozen peas and what have you are still one of your one-a-days - so that basically I thought ‘well I could do this five a day thing quite easily’.

What would you say to someone thinking about going for a health check?

I think if there is someone out there that’s undecided I would say it’s very simple. It took a couple of minutes, it’s not painful and if like me you go and you get something out of it, which I think that most people, even if it is something like my reading’s normal or there’s something you need to do to change - I mean if there’s a risk of heart disease at all and there is something you can do to change it what’s 5 minutes out of your life?

Brian's story: motivation and support

 

Read Brian from East Glasgow's transcript, talking about his Keep Well health check.

How did you hear about the Keep Well health check?

I heard about it through my doctor’s surgery - I was approached by one of the nurses and they asked me to come along and get the health check.

What made you go along for your check?

Well I’m not getting any younger and health is important - and I wanted to make sure that everything was OK, and if it wasn’t then what could I do to rectify that.

I have a young family and I’ve got three boys - and I want to be around for them.

How has the Keep Well health check made a positive difference for you?

I am in the process of changing my lifestyle. I am going to go to the stop smoking drop-in centre. I really want to stop smoking - I don’t smoke a lot but it’s not good for your health.

How would you describe the health check?

It’s quick it’s simple and it is non invasive - and if you have any problems they can be identified at the time and you can do something about it before it progresses.

Bronka's story: confidence boost

 

Read Bronka from Dundee's transcript, talking about her Keep Well health check.

What difference has the Keep Well health check made to you?

If anybody had told me you know, last year at this time that I’ve lost a stone in weight, I’ve lost the inches off my waist - if anybody had told me that - I wouldn’t have believed it, I really wouldn’t.

When I went for the check-up they measured my waist and I was 40 inches, I had never been that in my life, 40 inches round the waist. I’ve lost 4 inches off my waist, I couldn’t have done that on my own.

I did try, I did try it on my own but it just didn’t work you’ve got to have a wee bit of motivation and other people there. I just feel, I just feel a lot better in myself, do you know what I mean?

As I say I sort of resigned before I went along, I sort of resigned myself to the fact that that’s me 2 stone overweight and I’ll never get it off at my age but that’s a myth that’s definitely a myth.

How would you describe how your eating habits have changed?

You get booklets on what to eat and really a lot of information. You know it’s not a diet I would nay say I’m on a diet. I would say I’m eating more healthily, you know, more fruit more vegetables. I do have biscuits I mean I do have a thing for biscuits. But whereas I used to sit and maybe eat half a packet - but I maybe eat one or two.

Stories from patients and staff about their Keep Well experiences

What is the health check for?

Heather Craig – Chronic Disease Management Nurse
A Keep Well health check is where we invite men and women between the ages of 40 and 64 to come along and have a health check on their blood pressure, cholesterol and any other factors they wish to discuss with the approval and consent of their GP.

Alison Cheape - Senior Practice Nurse
In essence a Keep Well health check is really just an MOT for anyone between the age of 40 and 64.

Heather Craig – Chronic Disease Management Nurse
Some people are unaware of any health issues that haven’t been identified - because they haven’t been to see their GP for such a long time. So we can help identify those problems for them and obviously set them on the right path to help them improve their health. In general we look at anticipatory care rather than waiting to a disease or a problem develops - so hopefully the person can do something about it before there is ill health.

Sandra Macrae - Practice Nurse
What happens in a keep well health check is that you come and see somebody like myself for 40 minutes and I’ll check her blood pressure and we do height and weights and kind of see if patients are a wee bit overweight or the blood pressure is up. We take some blood tests and its generally for cholesterol, looking at your good and your bad fats. We will also want to know how the patient is feeling in their life themselves.

Helen Lawrie – Health Case Manager
People feel a wee bit lost in the system and a lot of the time people will say ‘I don’t want to bother the GP’ so I think the Keep Well project is ideal because the person is getting seen by nurse they get talking a bit about their issues and then from there the nurse can signpost them, and that might involve like, I’ll do counselling with them if they need counselling, life coaching if its maybe you know something a goal that they might have I also do acupuncture in the ear with them and stress management.

What is the process like for patients?

I found out about the Keep Well project initially because a letter dropped through the letterbox saying that I was of a specific age and inviting me to come along.

I thought anything extra to help people like myself who’s overweight or might have a mental problem, to you know, give it a go, so I did.

I usually only tend to go to the doctor when I really have to, when I’m really not well, so this was very pleasant.

What I felt when I got the letter inviting me was - in my family on my fathers side there is a history of heart disease so I didn’t want to be like that and I thought well this test shows me that there is a hereditary problem. Which is one of the things the girl had explained, you know the cholesterol checks, if I needed to have a second cholesterol check would show was it hereditary, was it something that you needed medication for then obviously I could get something to deal with that so I won’t be in that position. So I went from being hmmm I don’t know really know it if its going to be up to much - to thinking its probably going to be of use to me.

They were asking me you know quite a few questions. I am dyslexic so I couldn’t fill the form in. So there was no problem they filled the form in and they helped me on the weight scales as well, as they had problems with my feet and I found it really comforting - you know that they were quite friendly.

What are the benefits of going?

I think actually thinking sitting talking with the doctor and finally looking at my parents’ health and there being a history of heart disease on both sides and my own weight - and putting it together and having somebody say to me ‘you are at risk’. That was what finally made me step back and think I have got to do something here.

I’m a heavy smoker and I never thought, you know, I’ve heard different people saying that the smoking cessation classes are fantastic and I says well I’ll give it a try and it really is, it makes a big difference.

Well for me as a female I’ve lost 23 pounds in weight I feel great my health is so much better.

Made a big change to my life. You know we got to go to Counter Weight from that meeting and they’ve helped us or helped myself to change the way I look at food. And the support which I needed helped me in many different ways than just a health check with the other medical problems which I’ve had - and which I’m awfully grateful for.

I think if there’s someone out there that’s undecided - I would say its very simple. It took a couple of minutes, it’s not painful - and if like me you go and you get something out of it, which I think most people even if its just my readings normal or there’s something that you need to do to change it. I mean if there’s a risk of heart disease at all and there’s something you can do to change it. I mean what’s 5 minutes out of your life.

Oh go for it! Go along the people are so helpful, they’re not judging you they’re supporting you and they’re not asking you to make huge changes. Everything they ask you and advise you is a small step to help you along the way.