Health MOTs will be offered alongside booster Covid jabs and flu vaccines this autumn, NHS chiefs have said. 

Health officials said thousands of lives would be saved by the rollout of checks on blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health, at vaccination centres and pharmacies across the country.

The NHS is currently preparing to offer booster jabs against new Covid variants to all over-50s, with the rollout starting this autumn. 

The new checks will be offered alongside the Covid and flu jabs, with local health systems deciding criteria for who should be targeted. 

Amanda Pritchard, chief operating officer, said the NHS would make “every contact count” by rolling out opportunities for health checks at times when patients already have other appointments. 

Local health systems will decide who should be eligible for checks, which could also be offered to those who are middle aged or older when they come forward for flu jabs. 

Health officials said more than 1,000 strokes could be prevented every year if everyone over 65 was offered an annual heart rhythm check.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation Conference, she said: “The NHS is not just a sickness service but a health service which is why we want to make every contact count, using every opportunity to keep people well rather than just seeking to make them better.”

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She said the checks would “reach out to people in the communities they live in” to keep people healthy and well, instead of waiting for advanced disease to be treated. 

Ms Pritchard said: “The hugely successful NHS vaccine programme has given us the opportunity to make every contact count by going out into peoples’ communities to beat coronavirus while also catching other killer conditions.

“The checks – like the jabs – will be available in convenient locations in local communities including village halls, churches, mosques and local sports centres and prevent people becoming seriously ill.”

The programme comes amid concern that lockdown has fuelled more sedentary lives and unhealthy living, when two in three adults are already overweight or obese.

The NHS has set out ambitions to prevent 150,000 strokes and heart attacks over the next 10 years by improving the treatment of high-risk conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.