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NHS “should pay people to lose weight and quit smoking”

27 September 2010

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A study which recommends that the NHS should provide a financial incentive for people to give up smoking and lose weight is to be published by NICE today.

The report also claims that children should be given toys as a reward for eating their fruit and vegetables.

Critics have slammed the study, saying that offering payments to patients are “bribes”, which are draining the NHS of important funds that should be spent elsewhere.

The findings are based on the study of a number of schemes, including one being implemented in Kent that pays people up to £425 for losing weight, and another in Scotland which provides pregnant women with shopping vouchers if they quit smoking.

Schools in London, Manchester, Oxford and Bangor in Wales who have been giving out toys to children who have eaten their fruit and vegetables were described in the report as providing “an effective way of encouraging people to change their unhealthy ways.”

The study is not being offered as official advice to the NHS, but is the recommendation from NICE’s independent citizens council.

Sir Michael Rawlins, the chairman of NICE said: “We clearly face several public health challenges in today’s society, some more obvious than others, and we must seek to improve these in ways that are likely to achieve the best outcomes to those affected.”

Public consultation on the report starts on Monday.

Copyright © Press Association 2010


Do you agree with the thrust of the NICE report? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Is rewarding good behaviour and teaching good habits not the responsibility of parents? I always thought it was. This is just pandering to the lowest common denominator when we should be encouraging people to take responsibillity for their own and their family’s health” – Name and address withheld

“Absurd. They should be penalised for not improving, such as withholding services, not rewarded” – Graham Price, London