Give your body the NCT it deserves
There are all sorts of health screenings on offer, providing various levels of checks, so make sure you choose the one that’s right for youWITH THE kids back at school and summer holidays well and truly over – despite the late arrival of the sun – it might be an opportune time to get your health evaluated.
But what screening options are available and how much do they cost?
As a first step, you could consider availing of the various screening facilities that are available in pharmacies all around the State.
Given that pharmacies must now provide a private consultation room, stopping by can be a cost-effective way to get anything from a blood pressure check to a test for the menopause.
For example, at McCabes pharmacies, you can get simple tests such as cholesterol level check (€25); PSA check (€25 Dundrum); or glucose levels (€10).
In addition, the pharmacy has health screenings specific to men and women, with the cost ranging from €65-€100. It is currently offering a thyroid check for €10, down from the usual €30.
AT YOUR GP:
As a next step, you could make an appointment with your GP. Screenings here can include a consultation with the doctor, and a range of tests such as cholesterol and blood pressure and so on.
The advantage of seeing your own doctor for screening is that they will know your medical history. As one example, EHA offers screenings at GP practices around the State for €85.
If you feel as if your body could do with its own version of the NCT, then it might be worth considering investing in a comprehensive screening programme.
There are many different types and price ranges out there, so it is wise to do a bit of research before you part with your cash.
Charter Medical (€180-€495):This Dublin city health centre has a variety of screening options. Its most comprehensive, the Executive Screen, is carried out by a senior doctor and, as well as a full physical exam and lifestyle analysis, a number of tests are carried out. These include a comprehensive blood profile, urinalysis, hearing assessment, vision/glaucoma screening, ECG and, if necessary, a Dexa scan.
The Well, Beacon Clinic (€280-€495):Located beside Beacon Hospital in Sandyford, south Dublin, The Well offers several screening programmes, including corporate options and those specifically targeted at men and women.
Its cheapest option, the “silver medical”, takes 75 minutes, and includes a range of tests such as blood pressure, heart rate, weight, height, BMI (body mass index) measurement; urinalysis; heart assessment (resting ECG); and an extensive blood screening.
It also includes a 30-minute consultation with a doctor.
The Mater Private (€510, or €670 including mammogram and Dexa scan):On Dublin’s northside, the Mater Private’s Healthcheck department offers a comprehensive screening programme which is fully integrated with the hospital. The screening process incorporates a detailed medical history, and lifestyle analysis, as well as a physical examination. Tests conducted include blood profile, kidney function, bone profile, ECG, chest X-ray and lipid profile.
Bon Secours (€420):Part of Cork’s Bon Secours hospital, the health screening unit offers a comprehensive assessment by a doctor. The check involves a full physical examination, lifestyle evaluation and a range of tests such as diabetes and haematochromatosis and takes about three to four hours.
You can also opt for an additional nutritional screen and consultation with a clinical nutrionist/dietitian.
This will determine how healthy your diet is, and how it might be improved.
Specific screenings:With early detection vital in treating most illnesses, for many people, peace of mind means getting specific tests done in areas they are most concerned about.
So, in addition to the services offered under the aforementioned screening programmes, there are other tests available:
Mammogram:Although women between the ages of 50 and 64 are eligible for routine mammogram screenings under the National Breast Check Programme, others may want to avail of it or go private.
For those outside of this age group, or those unable or disinclined to wait for a screening in the public sector, such procedures can also be undertaken privately.
Irish Health Care is one group that offers this service – in the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin, as well as the Galway Clinic – for €180.
Mole mapping:Given that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland – it is estimated that one in six people will develop it at some stage in their life – keeping an eye on your skin is very important.
In this regard, mole mapping can make it a lot more straightforward than looking in the mirror and trying to identify changes in your moles. At Kilkenny’s Aut Even hospital this costs €200, while at Barrow Medical in Dublin 4, it is €99.
CT coronary angiogram:Available at the Beacon Clinic, this is used as an alternative to catheter angiography, and is a non-invasive procedure which produces images which give a 3D representation of the blood flowing through the coronary arteries and identifies hard and soft plaque, blockages or any narrowing of the arteries. It costs €650.
Finally, given the significant cost of many of the health screenings outlined, if you have private health insurance you may find that you are entitled to a partial reimbursement of the cost.
Aviva, for example, offers refunds of up to 33 per cent on health checks provided by Charter Medical Group. And remember that you can claim back the cost of your check against your tax, by submitting a Med 1 form to the Revenue Commissioners at the end of the tax year.
This will give you a 20 per cent discount on the total cost incurred to you, after you may have received any contribution from your insurer.
FREE HEALTH CHECKS IN KILKENNY:
A NUMBER of free health checks are currently under way as part of The Irish Times/Pfizer Healthcare Kilkenny Healthy Towns project. The health checks include measurement of height, weight, body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure and lifestyle.
Health checks are being held in the Newpark Resource Centre this evening from 7pm-9pm and tomorrow in the Fr McGrath Centre from 6pm-8pm. Health checks will also be conducted on Saturday, from midday to 5pm in the Town Hall, High Street. For details log on to irishtimes.com/healthytowns.