A few months ago, when I came to realise (belatedly) that I had arrived at the wrong side of 40, I asked our family doctor (whom I've troubled only once before in 15 years) whether there were any health checks on offer for people of 40+. Maybe she could check whether my heart was still beating and the blood vessels weren't clogging up and things like that, I suggested.
She looked at me as though I had just landed from a different planet, so by way of explanation I offered that these checks are quite common in countries like Germany and France (where, as I have learned, a lot more people live to 100 than here). She then explained to me that British doctors don't believe in this kind of thing, and if I wanted to spend money on it, I could do a full check-up at the private clinic next door for 500 pounds.
So I was more than a bit chuffed to read in yesterday's paper that the government is introducing free health checks for all people over 40, once every 5 years. This must be the first time in years (since the downgrading of cannabis?) that HM government said something that I actually approved of.
What I still don't understand is that the medical association protested against the move. As a biochemist I believe in testing and measuring things, and even more so if it can help to avert disease and death. Why the medics prefer to let people get a heart attack first before they are willing to deal with them is absolutely beyond me.