Mastering the lessons of being a school doctor
·White Paper to extend GP role
·Compulsory advice for children at risk of obesity
·GPs react with disbelief
Every patient will have the right to demand a personal health plan from their GP under a sweeping Government drive to tackle the public health crisis.
GPs will also be ordered to take a frontline role in targeting lifestyle advice to child-
ren at risk of becoming obese.
Pulse has learned the long-awaited White Paper on Public Health, due next month, is set to dramatically extend the traditional GP role as part of a drive to place health promotion at the core of the NHS.
But Chris Ham, until recently director of the Department of Health's strategy unit, warned GPs they would have to target health plans at the highest-risk patients or risk being swamped with work.
GPs reacted with disbelief and threatened to boycott the scheme unless it was properly resourced.
Under the proposals, GPs will have to provide a personal health plan to everyone who requests one, identifying risk factors and providing detailed advice on lifestyle interventions. They will be required to provide plans for all children they deem to be at high risk of obesity.
Ministers propose to set up a Health Direct telephone service to provide information about public health.
A senior Government official told Pulse: 'We're going to see the National Service for Health not just the National Health Service.
'Everything is going to be geared towards preventing illness.'
Mr Ham said personal health plans could give people more responsibility for their health and would plug a gap in the GMS contract. But he added: 'Realistically most practices will have to prioritise which patients to focus on because doing it for all people on the list will be too great a task.'
Dr Terry McCormack, a GP in Whitby and deputy chair of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said 'most GPs are just going to sigh in disbelief'.
GP Dr Peter Brindle, a Wellcome training fellow in health services research at the University of Bristol, said he would want to see the evidence before he would have 'anything to do with it'.
By Pulse reporters