Annual health check for people with severe mental health conditions

If you have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, your GP surgery should invite you to have an annual health check.

During your health check, the doctor or nurse will be able to look for any health problems, to help you get the treatment you need to stay well.

You can ask them questions about your health and tell them how you are feeling.

You can also talk about any treatment you are having or medicines you take.

Who can have an annual health check

Anyone aged 18 or over who has schizophreniabipolar disorder or psychosis can have a free health check once a year.

How to get an appointment

If you are eligible, you should get a letter from your GP surgery inviting you for an annual health check.

You can contact your GP surgery to ask for an appointment if you have not received a letter. A family member or friend can contact the surgery for you if you prefer.

If you’re in regular contact with your mental health team, they can do the health check for you. If you have not had your annual health check yet, contact the care coordinator in your mental health team and ask how to book an appointment.

How having an annual health check can help

It is up to you to decide if you want to have an annual health check, but these checks can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.

Talking to a doctor or nurse, and having a few simple tests, helps them find any health problems early. This means they can give you the treatment or support you need to stay well.

You can ask the doctor or nurse for more information about annual health checks before you decide.

What happens during the annual health check

Your appointment will take about 45 minutes. Before you have the health check and any tests, the doctor or nurse will check you are happy to go ahead.

The doctor or nurse will usually:

  • do a physical check-up, including weight, heart rate and blood pressure
  • ask you to pee in a small pot so they can check it for signs of some health problems
  • ask you to have a blood test
  • talk to you about staying well and ask if you need any help with this
  • talk to you about your medicines and ask if you have any side effects
  • check if your vaccinations are up to date
  • check how you are coping if you have a condition such as asthma or diabetes

They will also ask if you are OK (give your consent) to share your health information with other health services, such as your mental health team. This is to make sure you get the right support if you need further care.

The doctor or nurse can also give you health information, such as advice on healthy eating, exercise, alcohol or stopping smoking.

They may offer you a follow-up appointment to give you further information and support. This can help you improve your health and wellbeing, and manage any health conditions you may have.

If you need any additional support

The NHS has to make it easy for everyone to use health services, including anyone who needs additional support. This is called making “reasonable adjustments”.

Tell your GP surgery if you need any extra help, such as:

  • a longer appointment or having a carer, friend or peer support worker with you
  • an appointment at the beginning or end of the day, or a quiet place to wait if you find it hard to be in a busy waiting room
  • additional reassurance or support if you are afraid of needles and are having a blood test or vaccine
  • a sign-language service
  • transport if you need help getting to the GP surgery
  • a home visit if you are unable to leave your home

If you need additional support, this will usually be written in a health profile or health action plan that the doctor or nurse can use.

Is it the same as the NHS Health Check?

The annual health check for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis is not the same as the NHS Health Check for all adults aged 40 to 74.

The standard NHS Health Check is done every 5 years and checks your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia.