Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Congress rejects plan to pay people to be healthier

  • 1 Comment

Nurses have rejected calls to introduce financial incentives for improved public health behaviour.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing voted against a resolution today at their annual congress, which called on the union’s council to lobby in favour of moves to offer “financial incentives to be healthy”.

The resolution was proposed by the RCN Suffolk branch, which backed rewards for positive behaviour such as losing weight, taking up exercise or smoking cessation.

Branch members noted that there was evidence that such incentives could work if they were “targeted or time limited”. For example, the Best Fed Babies project in Scotland provided pregnant women with vouchers to encourage better nutrition and 93% of babies were subsequently born at or above normal birth rate.

The branch also highlighted that the college had previously backed “financial disincentives” to change behaviour, such as minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

Suffolk member Sandra Gover, who proposed the motion, said that even if the idea only helped “some people” it should be worth considering.

However, 93% of delegates voted against it, while only 7% were in favour.

Jennifer Aston, chair of the RCN advanced nurse practitioner forum, was against the resolution. She acknowledged that “money can motivate” but said “education is much more effective”.

Student member Stephen Walton added that he was also against the idea, based on his previous experience as a healthcare assistant working with patients who were drug or alcohol dependent.

“I know lots of people who would take the money, stop for the week, and then start again,” he said.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Hmm, probably need to know more about the subject but in principle I am not in favour of any bribe to do something. Why does everything have to be about financial rewards? Have the RCN not noticed that we are in a global crisis and subsequently UK and NHS crisis, because of financial greed, mismanagement and bad decisions? I presume the rationale is, that if you pay out a little to get people to be heathly then it saves money later. The problem is that often the damage to health is already done through smoking, alcohol and poor diet at the time and then it comes back to haunt us in our older years. We need to concentrate on the next generation but make people take responsibility themselves and not expect rewards. It creates apathy as no-one does anything without a financial reward.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.