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Protecting your health

Find out about NHS health checks, immunisations, cancer screening and sexual health.

NHS health checks

An NHS Health Check is a sophisticated check of your heart health aimed at adults aged 40 to 74.

The check involves measuring your:

  • blood pressure
  • pulse
  • height
  • weight

It also involves asking you some lifestyle questions, to see if there’s more you can do to look after your health. 

Immunisations

Immunisations or vaccinations are given to help prevent people getting certain diseases.

It’s important to make sure you and your children have your routine vaccinations delivered on time to protect against certain diseases.

Visit NHS to find out more.

Flu vaccination

For some people, flu can be an unpleasant illness. For many, particularly those with certain health conditions, older people and pregnant women, flu can be very dangerous and even life-threatening.

Every autumn the NHS offers free vaccinations to those who are most at risk from serious flu complications. Vaccination appointments are usually available from GP practices and local pharmacies between September and March.

For more information visit the NHS website.

COVID vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is an important part of protecting yourself if you are at increased risk from COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are normally given seasonally, but some people with a severely weakened immune system may need additional protection at other times. Your specialist or GP will assess if you or your child (aged 6 months or over) needs a COVID-19 vaccine.

You may be offered a spring COVID-19 vaccine from April 2024 if you:

  • are aged 75 years old or over
  • live in a care home for older adults
  • are aged 6 months old or over and have a weakened immune system

When available, there will be different ways to get a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine:

  • booking online
  • going to a walk in COVID-19 vaccination site
  • through a local NHS service, such as a GP surgery
  • through your care home

For more information on COVID vaccination visit this NHS webpage.

Pneumococcal (PCV) vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine helps protect against serious illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. It is recommended for people at higher risk of these illnesses such as babies and people aged over 65 years.

Babies are given the PCV vaccine as part of the routine immunisations schedule.

Adults will be invited for the PCV vaccine at the GP practice when they turn 65. Contact your GP practice if you have missed your PCV vaccination.

For more information about PCV vaccination, visit the NHS website.

Shingles

Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash. It can sometimes lead to serious problems such as long-lasting pain, hearing loss or blindness.

You are more likely to get shingles, and it's more likely to cause serious problems, as you get older or if you have a severely weakened immune system.

The shingles vaccine helps:

  • reduce your chances of getting shingles
  • reduce your chances of getting serious problems if you do get shingles

The shingles vaccination is recommended for:

  • People who turn 65 on or after 1st September 2023. Two doses 6-12 months apart. You remain eligible until your 80th birthday.

If you turned 65 before September 2023 you will become eligible when you turn 70.

  • People aged between 70 and 79. You will be eligible until your 80th birthday.
  • People aged 50 and over with severely weakened immune systems.

Contact your GP surgery if you have missed your shingles vaccine.

There are two types of shingles vaccine:

  1. Zostavax® – given as 1 dose. This contains traces of porcine gelatine
  2. Shingrix® - given as 2 doses. This does not contain porcine gelatine.

Please ask your GP if you have a preference. Shingrix® will usually be given to people aged 65 years and those over 50 with weakened immune systems.

For information on the shingles vaccine, visit the NHS website.

Cancer screening

Diagnosing cancer early can make all the difference.

Free cancer screening for certain types of cancer is available on the NHS for some people. Visit the NHS website to find out more.

You can also find out more information including FAQs from the NHS in North West London

Sexual health

Sexual health is a key part of your physical, mental and social wellbeing. Whether you’re in a relationship, don’t have a regular partner, or are not currently having sex, taking care of your sexual health is vital.

Advice and information

SASH (Support and Advice on Sexual Health) supports residents to improve behaviours, attitudes, and knowledge around reproductive and sexual health. 

The partnership also works closely with community reproductive health, contraception, STI screening and HIV treatment to ensure services are accessible and responsive to residents. 

Sexually transmitted infections (STI's)

Regular STI testing is crucial, regardless of whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not. If you are experiencing STI symptoms, would like information, explore contraception options, or want to test for HIV, you can visit our Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) services which are available across the borough.

Sexual Health London 

If you are not experiencing symptoms of an STI or have mild symptoms, Sexual Health London (SHL) provides free and easy access to sexual health testing via the internet and local venues.  

Sexual Health London (SHL)also offers free regular and emergency contraception to people over 16.

Freedoms Shop

The Freedoms Shop is available to all residents.

It's dedicated to helping you have safer sex by stocking a huge range of high quality condoms and lubricants, as well as testing and sampling kits. 

Published: 7 December 2020

Last updated: 5 July 2024