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GPs ‘to be paid to tackle obesity’ and other health news

By Ellie Broughton

Our round-up of the health headlines on Monday 23 May.

'GPs will be paid extra for telling patients they are fat', claims the Sunday Telegraph tactfully this morning.

From next year, GPs will receive a payment for every obese patient they advise to lose weight as part of plans to tackle rising rates of obesity in Britain. The new QOF indicators will be for recording giving 'weight management advice' to obese patients, or offer them a free place on a diet club, which the NHS would pay for.

Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum was horrified by the news: 'I am in favour of GPs referring more patients to weight management schemes, like Weight Watchers and Slimming World, where there is good evidence they work, as there increasingly is. But I think it's appalling that GPs need to be paid extra to do this - and even worse that they can get the same reward just from telling a patient to lose some weight.'

In other news, most of the papers have previewed the Dispatches documentary, airing tonight on Channel 4, about swindling dentists. The Truth About Your Dentist reveals how some dentists are misleading patients about their rights to NHS treatment.

The programme exposes those in the profession who wait until patients lie back in the chair to reveal the cost of private treatment – which should be available on the NHS. The documentary also claims that children's teeth are being neglected under the NHS and that cost-cutting dentists are outsourcing lab work as far as China, despite poor safety and quality checks in those countries. Tune in at 8pm for more.

Lastly, we couldn't resist sharing the research findings that children are feebler than ten years ago. The Independent has picked up on a story published by Acta Paediatrica that sedentary lifestyles have made the latest generation less able to carry out physical activity.

Studies of more than 600 10-year-olds found that the number of sit-ups they could do fell by 27% between 1998 and 2008. Arm strength dropped by 26%, and 83% were unwilling to carry the coal bucket up from the cellar.

Seen a story we've missed? Let us know!

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