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Obese NHS staff criticised in Lords

Obese NHS staff provide a “very poor role model” to patients trying to lose weight, according to a leading doctor.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, a former president of the Royal Society of Medicine, said ministers should introduce a “requirement” for all health service employers to “address obesity in their staff at all levels”.

“The staff are often quite severely obese and actually act as a very poor role model to those patients whose obesity should be being addressed,” the independent crossbench peer said at question time in the House of Lords.

Health minister Earl Howe said he was co-chairman of a network within the Department of Health which “draws together employers from a range of sectors to address health in the workplace”.

“It is a tremendously important opportunity to engage employers to realise that it is in their own interests to ensure that their employees enjoy good health and lead healthy lifestyles,” he said.

Labour former minister Lord Foulkes said doctors should be told it did not help “to be critical and condemnatory of those of us who are obese “as that could lead to “depression and other illnesses”.

He added: “It is very important to give encouragement and that is why, I’m glad to say, I’ve been able to lose over a stone in the last month.”

Lord Howe told him: “Not for the first time you are an example to us all.”

He agreed with Lord Foulkes about the way doctors should interact with patients.

Readers' comments (51)

  • I agree, I also think that all politicians should not be corrupt! Mind the glass house Baroness Finlay!!

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  • maybe it's because all we ever get to eat is sweet tea, chocolates and biscuits - why don't our employers provide us with free healthy food and give us time to sit and have a proper break.

    free gym membership would be nice too.

    I assume that all health-care managers, govt ministers, all those who work for regulatory bodies and patient groups are all fit, fake-tanned, healthy and slim. And of course none of these people would ever think of drinking alcohol or smoking, let alone blobbing out in front of the tv with a packet of crisps or a sticky bun.

    they are worried about us looking obese but don't give a toss about the stress we are under.

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  • The Baroness has a point; some of the staff in the trust I work for are morbidly obese including nurses, and the rest of the staff end up doing quite a lot of their work because they physically can't manage it themselves.

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  • Baroness shut up !!!!

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  • We never get biscuits or sweets, lucky if we even get a cuppa!
    It's about time people stopped thinking about the 'freebies' they still expect and take responsibility for their 'own' health and fitness, especially in the current economic climate.

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  • do you really consider a couple of chocolates from a relative whose mum you looked after is a freebie? do you really think a cup of tea is a freebie? Maybe you don't get biscuits or sweets for a reason.

    to the Baroness - nurses smoke, drink, have unprotected sex too - what a terrible bunch we are, big fat lazy lumps of lard who set such a bad example.

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  • Expenses fiddling MP's and Lords represent poor role models in politics. silly old fool

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  • What about all the fat, lazy b*st*rds who sit around collecting obscene amounts of money to spout this kind off shoite? Get rid of the lot of them!

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  • Stop blaming nurses for the dreadful state of the country's health!

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  • tinkerbell

    witch hunt fat staff now. Couldn't make it up could you.

    Why don't they just burn the lot of us at the stake? What about short staff, overly tall staff, diabetic staff, smokers,smirkers, drinkers (couple of glasses of wine brigade),depressed, euphoric, in fact any kind of problem you may have could be included in not being a 'good role model'. You may still be providing excellent care, be a lovely kind person, working your arse off but F**K that, you're not fit to wear the uniform you bitches.

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  • it's not about being a poor role model, it's about the nhs having to care for fat, lazy, probably diabetic nurses in years to come which of course would be a drain on resources.

    what a nasty article, again written by someone who is obviously perfect in every way.

    I think the DM should start up a campaign 'knock a nurse' as this is all anyone seems to want to do these days, see who can be the most spiteful.

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  • I'm amazed at the violent opinions expressed. Yes, nurses do get overweight and obese and it's a serious health issue for them. Nursing is hard work, physically, mentally and emotionally and if you're seriously overweight, your own health is suffering.

    If OH departments were worthwhile, they'd be offering help and support for staff who are obese through gym membership and ensuring healthy food is available & affordable for staff. It's all very well to say that individuals ought to be better role models - the same applies to their employers!

    It's time to start valuing nurses by caring for their health and offering support for smokers, heavy drinking, stress and bad diets. If the NHS tackles this nationally, it's not going to cost much and they'd have better morale and less sick leave costs.

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  • Where does it actually blame nurses? It points to all NHS staff.

    It is somewhat ironic that comments from Lords Howe and Foulkes suggest that doctors need to be careful about making comments about obesity as it could cause psychological problems in reply to exactly those sort of comments made in the House of Lords by a doctor, or may be that is the point and they were politely telling Baroness Finlay to shut up!

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  • tinkerbell

    it's enough to make you want to eat a slice of chocolate cake to de-stress from the unrelenting assault on ALL NHS workers.

    At least we haven't all been fiddling our expenses for duck ponds.

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  • presumably those working outside the NHS are not lardy.

    never mind, when we all die young of lardy-arse disease you won't have to pay our pensions.

    not good role models - you mean like MPs.

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  • so she's not interested in our welfare, just how we look, how very narrow-minded and unkind.

    I need a store of fat to get me through the shifts when I don't get any food.

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  • Eat less, exercise more. It's not rocket science folks.

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  • tinkerbell

    Fat people know they are fat, most of the population know about how to give up this that and the other. There's enough health education out there.

    Most seriously overweight people are depressed about their size and some could be feeling suicidal.

    As someone who has been told by colleagues 'you eat like an orse and there's nothing of you' how's that work? I guess i'm one of the lucky ones.

    If i went into a garage and bought myself 10 bounties no one would bat an eyelid, but if i were a bit lardy then people might be nudging each other in the ribs and making derisory comments.

    If there are these 'perfect' people out there who are living an absolutely healthy, body perfect lifestyle then they can throw the first stone.

    Next thing will be condemning people who are too unattractive to work in the NHS.

    I did work in a private hospital for 4 years and they do prefer 'dolly birds' mostly.

    So long as an obese NHS worker is doing their fair share of the work what business is it of anyone else. LEAVE US ALONE!

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  • But they often aren't doing their share of the work, that's part of the problem, and others have to pick up the slack.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 14-Nov-2012 4:52 pm

    probably the same proportion of slimmer people don't do their work either though do they?

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