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Independents' Day

Government wants new obesity indicators added to QOF by next year

NICE recommendations for GPs to refer a quarter of all patients for weight management services could become a reality by next year.

The plans form part of the Government's new obesity strategy, which was unveiled today.

The recommendations come as a PHE evidence review concluded that excess weight leads to a significantly higher risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19.

A draft new QOF indicator published by NICE earlier this month would see GP practice achievement measured on 'the percentage of patients with a BMI ≥27.5 kg/m2 (or ≥30 kg/m2 if ethnicity is recorded as White) in the preceding 24 months who have been referred to a weight management programme within 90 days of the BMI being recorded'.

The Government's obesity stategy said it 'will be bringing forward a programme with incentives for GPs and referral pathways into weight management services in every local health care system'.

It added: 'From 2021, we will work with the [BMA] and the [NICE] to implement incentives for doctors through the [QOF] to ensure everyone living with obesity are offered support for weight loss.’

The Government further said it would 'encourage local authorities to expand their provision and where these services are not available' so that 'doctors can guide people to the free NHS 12-week plan, which we will develop and enhance over time drawing on new insights about what works'.

It said this would build on the 'success' of GP stop-smoking interventions and utilise practices’ position as the ‘first port of call’ for health advice and support.

Meanwhile, PCNs will be offered ‘the opportunity to equip their staff to become healthy weight coaches through training delivered by Public Health England’, the strategy document added.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘We know obesity increases the risk of serious illness and death from coronavirus - so it’s vital we take action on obesity to protect the NHS and improve our nation’s health.’

GPs have warned that the proposed new QOF inidicator could come with significant new workload to practice and place a huge burden on already overstretched weight management services, as over a quarter of the population is estimated to be obese.

The news comes as the RCGP was last month forced to apologise after branding Covid-19 as a 'lifestyle' disease in a conference title.

Other key actions in the Goverment's latest obesity strategy

  • A 9pm watershed on TV and online adverts for food high in sugar, fat and salt 
  • An end to ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy food
  • The mandatory display of calories on menus, subject to a new consultation
  • A consultation on labelling alcoholic drinks’ as ‘liquid calories’

Source: Department of Health and Social Care


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Readers' comments (28)

  • Took Early Retirement

    What a waist (sic) of money.

    Eat a bit less
    Exercise a bit more
    Give up alcohol.

    Problem sorted.

    Medicalising this means that doctors suddenly become responsible for the behaviour of fat people.

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  • what a load of codswallop

    do these trousers make me look fat?
    no love, it's the pies you shove in your gob that do that
    i'll give you that for free for your pdp on this; good luck on this one
    one more reason to get your pension statement up to date and ring your pension adviser, i'd say

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  • lets not medicalise this issue. Its basically a self control issue and will not help to transfer the blame to medics.

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  • All because Boris is overweight ?

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  • Nowt to do with me your honour. Eat less, do more. Simples.

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  • MCQ
    1.Who ate all the pies?

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  • I have suggested for years that we get the Town Planners involved and pass legislation that the doors of cake and sweet shops are limited to only sixteen inches wide, it might stop the fat people getting to the pies.

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  • Obesity is a societal problem that causes health problems. It is not a medical illness. People do not need a referral to loose weight. Just like they do not need a referral to stop smoking. The BMA has to fight this. Yes society needs to deliver on obesity. But we dont need doctors referrals. We are far far too busy.

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  • pt: whats the best way to lose weight doc?
    doc: - eat way less calories than you put in?
    pt: how do I do that then? is there a tablet for it?
    doc: yes - use your tablet and get all the information off the internet as its freely available to read and download.
    pt: but I find it so hard to lose weight doc? I don't eat hardly anything.
    doc: - well if you will insist on a latte with chocolate muffin and a panini, which is more than your max daily calorie intake for a whole day, to lose weight, not just for one of your 4 meals a day with snacks, I am not surprised?
    pt: - does that really contain all those calories then doc?
    doc: - yes - I read the packets and add it all up and decided against and go for the black coffee instead. juts a personal note on that one.
    pt. so I should eat less then, is that what you are saying?
    doc: absolutely.
    please copy and paste for all future consultations as it get quite repetitive after a while.

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  • Having received a complain for daring to tell a patient they were morbidly obese ho is this going to work? Can we have an amnesty on weight related hurt feelings type complaints?

    Followed by evidence based effective interventions that we can use.

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