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GPs to front lifestyle change pilot

GPs will be asked to routinely quiz patients about their lifestyle in a new PCT pilot scheme, Pulse has learned.

NHS Salford is the first PCT to adopt the ‘Make Every Contact Count' policy since NHS Future Forum chair Professor Steve Field's controversial call earlier this month for GPs to routinely ask patients about their diet, smoking and drinking habits.

When trailed in the national press, the policy met with heavy criticism. RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada told the Guardian the policy was ‘muddled' and warned patients would be put off if ‘lectured' by GPs.

Professor Field's call, in the NHS Future Forum's Second Phase report followed a successful two year trial in NHS Yorkshire and Humber SHA in which everyone working in the NHS in eight PCTs was expected to act as ‘an extended salesforce for healthy lifestyles'.

Following this, NHS Salford has now launched a city-wide initiative aimed at training all staff and GP practices to provide ‘behaviour change interventions with people they have contact with through their everyday work.'

A spokesman for NHS Salford said the GP part of the scheme is currently going through a PCT approval process: ‘Initially we are planning to work with a small number of GP practices and from this the project will roll out wider across Salford.'

Dr Ravi Mene, honorary secretary of Salford and Trafford LMC said he expected the initiative to come before the LMC in the next few weeks: ‘Making Every Contact Count is definitely going to increase our workload on top of shifting a lot of work from secondary into primary care.'

He added: ‘It might get a bit much at every consultation. Patients might think: "Bloody hell! Here he goes again".'