We all know that prevention is better than cure. Often it is easier to prevent disease from developing into something more serious, than providing treatment, especially if the disease has been diagnosed in its later stage.
Private healthcare companies are often seen as working against the public health services (Arnold 2020), however companies like Echelon Health aim to support our clients and help them uncover if they have any early signs of life threatening disease.
We focus on health pre-treatment and save on waiting times and expending resources on diagnostics, allowing clients to use the public health sector if they need treatment. Echelon Health focus on prevention rather than treatment, and we are happy to refer our clients to their personal GPs or local clinics to find the correct treatment should anything untoward be found during one of our health assessments.
The strain that the public health sector is feeling is not unfounded, however we hope that the services we provide alleviate the pressure as we are able to reduce waiting times (currently in the UK, maximum waiting times for non-urgent care can be as long as 18 weeks (NHS, 2019)) for individuals who are coming in just for a regular health check and are not seeking specific treatments just yet.
The government released a long-term plan (Selbie, 2019) focused on preventive measures that they can take in order to reduce the risk of people developing certain diseases however, there is still a lot of work to be done. As a result, we pride ourselves in working in tandem with the NHS and the governments’ goals (DHSC 2018) of providing preventive health care solutions to the public.
Our preventive health assessments are created with the purpose of early detection and the comprehensive scans and tests that we use allow us to visualise tumours as small as 1-2mm and up to 92% and 95% of preventive causes of death among men and women respectively.
A BUPA/public health sector style health assessment, is typically still focused on diagnosing and treating existing health conditions, has its limitations compared to a fully comprehensive preventive assessment for several reasons that will be laid out in this article.
Reactive vs. Proactive Approach:
BUPA style assessments are primarily reactive. They work on addressing health issues when they become apparent and sometimes that means it can be at quite a late stage in the disease cycle. In contrast, fully comprehensive preventive assessments such as our Platinum Assessment take a proactive approach, aiming to identify potential health risks early on and prevent diseases from developing or progressing into anything that can be life threatening.
Health assessments provided by public services are sometimes constrained by time and available resources, leading to a more limited evaluation of a patient’s overall health. Comprehensive preventive assessments usually tend encompass a broader range of health factors, including lifestyle, genetics, mental health, and environmental influences, to provide a more holistic picture of an individual’s well-being in order to get everything checked in one all-inclusive appointment.
Our Platinum Assessment takes about 6 hours to complete and can detect over 29 diseases that cause premature death among men and women through the combined use of the latest technology in CT, MRI and ultrasound scanners.
Further, the NHS has recently introduced a few limitations for conditions that they will no longer be providing prescriptions for because they’re non-urgent (The Newsroom, 2018).
Focus on Symptoms vs. Root Causes:
Regular health assessments often focus on treating symptoms rather than addressing the underlying root causes. Comprehensive preventive assessments aim to identify and target the underlying factors contributing to health issues, promoting long-term health and well-being. Many illnesses share symptoms so ensuring that you are treating the correct disease is imperative to providing a fully comprehensive treatment that will restore the individual to full health.
On one hand, publicly funded healthcare systems may prioritise treating acute conditions and urgent care needs. This can limit the availability of comprehensive preventive assessments, which require additional resources and may not be perceived as urgent. On the other hand, there are drains on the resources available in the public sector that, if eliminated or reduced, could go further to improve the areas that need the resources more.
Currently, each year (Fothergill, 2023):
- “Smoking costs the NHS £2.4 billion and a further £1.2 billion in social care costs.
- alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost £3.5 billion in England
- obesity costs the NHS £6 billion
- physical inactivity is associated with one in six deaths in the UK and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion.”
Timing and Frequency:
Preventive assessments are ideally conducted regularly throughout an individual’s life to monitor changes in health status and risk factors. In contrast, a regular health assessment may be less frequent and typically occur when a patient presents with symptoms or requests a check-up.
While there are campaigns in place to invite adults in certain age brackets to come for a health check, for example a mammogram for women aged 35 and over, due to having to wait for an invitation, and long waiting times, it is hard for people to get the full benefits that public healthcare has to offer.
We recommend our clients to repeat our Platinum Assessment every four years.
While the NHS plays a crucial role in managing existing health conditions, a fully comprehensive preventive assessment can help identify early warning signs and intervene before conditions progress, potentially reducing the burden on the healthcare system in the long run.
As mentioned earlier, the long-term plan introduced by the government will definitely introduce a new focus on prevention, rather than treatment, to the NHS, but until that fully comes to fruition, companies such as Echelon Health can and will continue to provide their services to help the NHS and provide services to the public, without devaluing one of the most efficient healthcare organisations in the world.
Preventive Health Assessments at Echelon Health
In summary, while the NHS serves a vital role in providing healthcare to the population, its focus on diagnosing and treating existing conditions may limit its ability to provide the same level of comprehensive preventive care offered in dedicated preventive assessments.
Integrating preventive measures and comprehensive assessments into the public healthcare system can lead to improved overall health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs in the long term.
This is why Echelon Health has created the Platinum Health Assessment.
This is a full body health check that leaves no stone unturned and works on a case-by-case basis, in order to provide results that are personal to you and your circumstances. Combining over 30 years of medical expertise, use of the most advanced imaging technology available in the world today (through CT, MRI and ultrasound scanners) along with fully comprehensive blood tests looking at over 40 parameters including cancer markers, hormones and more, we can confidently say that, we can detect up to 92% and 95% of preventive causes of death among men and women.
Here are the scans included in the Platinum Assessment:
- Blood Tests
- CT Aorta
- CT Heart
- CT Coronary Angiogram
- CT Chest
- CT Pelvis
- CT Virtual Colonoscopy
- CT Bone Density
- CT Upright Skeleton
- MRI Brain
- MRI Cerebral Artery Angiogram
- MRI Carotid Artery Angiogram
- MRI Prostate
- Ultrasound Thyroid
- Ultrasound Testes/Ovaries
- Digital Mammogram
- Full Body Mole Screen
If you have any questions about our services or how we can help you achieve optimal health, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is always happy to assist you!
Arnold, J., (2020). I implore people to stop using private healthcare: it’s killing the NHS. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/08/private-healthcare-sector-nhs-staff (accessed 24/07/2023)
Selbie, D., (2019). The NHS Long Term Plan: Focusing on prevention to save thousands of lives. UKHSA. https://ukhsa.blog.gov.uk/2019/01/08/the-nhs-long-term-plan-focusing-on-prevention-to-save-thousands-of-lives (accessed 24/07/2023)
DHSC (2018). Prevention is better than cure. Department of Health and Social Care. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/753688/Prevention_is_better_than_cure_5-11.pdf (accessed 24/07/2023)
NHS (2019). Guide to NHS waiting times in England. NHS website. https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/hospitals/guide-to-nhs-waiting-times-in-england/ (accessed 25/07/2023)
The Newsroom (2018). These 35 NHS medicines and treatments are no longer available free on the NHS. Yorkshire Post. https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/health/these-35-nhs-medicines-and-treatments-are-no-longer-available-free-on-the-nhs-557833 (accessed 25/07/2023)
Fothergill, D. (2023). How do we make a reality of ‘prevention is better than cure’? Local Government Association. https://www.local.gov.uk/topics/social-care-health-and-integration/how-do-we-make-reality-prevention-better-cure (accessed 25/07/2023)