GPs could be paid to send 12million fat Brits to slimming classes under new proposals

GPs should be paid extra to send 12million fat Brits to slimming classes, an NHS watchdog says.

They will get the cash for each obese adult they refer to “weight management programmes” within three months of them being measured.

The idea is contained in proposals from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence and revealed by GP magazine Pulse.

With one in four adults obese, a body mass index over 30, it could lead to 12million people being offered help.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, welcomed plans to pay GPs.

He said: “It is a move in the right direction, although the sooner GPs intervene the better.

"If GPs are not incentivised they will not do it, so we need to make these extra payments.”

Kent GP Dr Stephanie de Giorgio said: “There aren't the services to send them to, so that's not possible without massive investment when you think of the number of patients this is going to involve.

“Unless significant input is put into effective weight management – which includes psychology, proper nutritional information, obesity medicine and bariatric surgery – then there is really very little point in doing any of this.”

NHS boss Simon Stevens has also warned the UK must tackle obesity, with tubby Brits twice as likely to be killed by coronavirus.

Sir Simon said: “Obesity doubles your chance of dying from coronavirus. And unfortunately, we are all carrying too many pounds as a country.

“So there is a strong case for using the experience of coronavirus to… get serious about prevention, including obesity.”

Being too heavy increases the chances of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and liver disease, and several cancers.

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