More than 16,000 people in Swindon missed out on vital health checks after the council failed to send them an invite.

Currently adults aged between 40 and 74 should be invited to their GP surgery for standard tests every five years to spots early signs of several life-threatening conditions.

But figures published by Public Health England show only 75 per cent of those eligible for the checks were sent an invitation by the council during the five years to June 2019.

Coun Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for adults and health, said: “Offering health checks to all eligible adults in this age range over a five-year period was an ambitious target when you take into account all the pressures facing GPs and other healthcare services.”

PHE estimates 65,440 people in Swindon were eligible for the check, meaning 16,200 residents missed out.

Last week, Coun Ford told the Adver the 'health MOTS' for those over 40 in Swindon are not in danger of being axed. Checks include tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, and aim to spot the risks of a stroke, heart and kidney disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.

Coun Ford added: “The good news is that almost 50,000 people in Swindon (75.3 per cent) who are entitled to a health check have been offered one, which is above the national average and notably higher than that in the south west where 56.3 per cent of people have been contacted.”

Across England 3.92 million people were not sent invitations by their local authority, with less than three-quarters of the population asked to attend an appointment.

“Health checks are an important part of the council’s ongoing work in improving the health of Swindon residents,” said Coun Ford.

“We are committed to ensuring all eligible residents receive health checks when they are due,” he added.

Nikki Joule, policy manager at Diabetes UK, said: “Local authorities have a legal duty to offer a health check to everyone who is eligible, but this clearly isn’t happening. If left undiagnosed, diabetes can lead to sight loss, amputations, stroke and kidney failure. Government needs to invest more money in the depleted public health grant to allow authorities to reach more people at risk.”