Shropshire Star comment: We cannot just ignore our health
It is extremely concerning how few people have taken up the offer of free health checks on the NHS.
The scheme, which was launched to great fanfare and was billed as something of a life saver, has simply never really taken off.
Across the region last year only a small proportion of those who were eligible for a check-up took up the offer.
It is worth remembering why the checks were brought in in the first place.
In this country, far too many people die prematurely from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.
Often, deaths can be prevented providing the symptoms are picked up early enough, and researchers have revealed that free NHS checks reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Tragically, in recent years the number of fatalities from these types of illnesses have risen.
There are likely to be many reasons for the low take up of the scheme, which is now being scrapped and replaced altogether.
One of the most straightforward and obvious is that people often lead such busy lives that they do not allocate time for their health.
It is a folly that affects us all. We only visit the doctors or the hospital once something has gone wrong.
It is a similar situation with the dentist, with people only deciding to visit one when they are struck down with the excruciating pain of toothache.
We are told the replacement scheme will involve a digital check that makes use of technology to save people needing to book face-to-face appointments with their GP.
This may well see a far higher take-up, as people are more likely to use the service if it can be done from the comfort of their own homes.
But it is worth remembering that despite the overhaul, people aged 40-to-70 can still request a health check from their GP.
Health should always be an absolute priority. Failing to take care of ourselves not only endangers lives, it also places an extra burden on the already over-stretched NHS.
Prevention is always far better than being forced to seek a cure.
Our health is precious, and we must never take it for granted.