The NHS is to pay fat people up to £425 to lose weight.And won’t immediately spend it all on chips and cream cake, I suppose…?
Overweight men and women will get the handouts for meeting personal slimming targets.
Most doctors and medical experts aren’t in favour either, pointing out the inherent dangers of ‘yo yo’ dieting that this scheme may encourage, not to mention that it is rewarding people for things that are within their own remit and will bring them health benefits:
An obesity expert said it could put people at risk of heart attack and stroke by encouraging yo-yo dieting and an MP said the idea would enrage patients who struggle to get funding for life-saving treatments.I’m betting ‘No’…
There were also questions over whether the 'bribe' would have to be returned if the patients put the weight back on.
So why are they forging ahead with this?
The ' Pounds for Pounds' scheme is being run by Eastern and Coastal Kent primary care trust in conjunction with Weight Wins, a private company which runs incentive schemes for firms to persuade staff to lose weight.Yes, but if Virgin or Sainsbury wants to bring them in, they presumably fund it from company profits. The NHS is expecting us to fund it…
If successful, it could be expanded across the country.
Weights are checked once a month by a nurse in a GP surgery or an assistant at a pharmacist.What, no ‘McDonalds’ vouchers? No doubt someone will be complaining about that…
There is no time limit but patients will get only half the money for losing the weight. The rest is handed over if they keep it off for six months.
They can decide to take cash or store or holiday vouchers.
But Mark Wallace of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: 'People pay their taxes for the sick to be treated, not for the nanny state to bribe them to do something they should have done off their own bat.‘Unfair’..? You are too generous – it’s frankly criminal!
'This is no kind of long-term solution - a temporary financial incentive won't stop people putting the weight back on once they've got the cash.
'When people who are ill through no fault of their own are struggling to get appointments and drugs, it's unfair for money to be allocated to people who simply need to choose to exercise more and eat less.'
Grinning homunculus Tam Fry (was there ever a more inappropriately-named spokesman?) popped up to cheer on this opportunity for him to see his picture in even more newspapers:
But the scheme was welcomed by Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum. He said: 'This is an investment to get people into the right lifestyle.Of course you do – you are, after all, part of the ‘obesity industry’.
'The Government has spent an awful lot of money to tackle obesity and it has got absolutely nowhere. Now they are taking a leaf out of industry's book - rewarding people for doing good things.
'Some people will call this a bribe, but I think it's a judicious use of the public purse to prevent a further drain on resources from heart disease and type two diabetes.'