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Writing lists of fat people does absolutely nothing – GP

24 March 2010

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The system of paying GPs to compile lists of obese patients – just for nothing to be done with them – is not reducing the number of people with the condition, the chair of the National Obesity Forum has said.

Dr David Haslam told the Tackling Obesity 2010 conference in London that the QOF meant he was “incentivised to identify fat people and make a list of them, and with the list do absolutely nothing – but when they come back a year later, weigh them to make sure they are still fat enough that I continue to get paid”.

A spokesman for the Department of Health spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of encouraging and supporting GPs to not only identify overweight adults but also support them with an appropriate intervention and ongoing management.”

But Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee, insisted: “Making lists of obese patients is something the government wanted GPs to do, despite us saying there wasn’t the evidence to prove it made a difference to levels of obesity.

“GPs’ main concern is their patients’ wellbeing and therefore screening obese patients for diabetes is done as a matter of routine: it doesn’t need to be part of an incentive scheme because it’s good medical practice.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

National Obesity Forum

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“As with many of the incentives, the original aims have been watered down so much to make the targets acceptable that we have this kind of result. I suppose that making a list at least shows what a problem obesity is, and for how many, which should be used to create a strategy to be implemented across all agencies. It’s the start of a process, not the end itself” – Name and address withheld