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Obesity and alcohol 'mar NHS progress'

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A study blames Britain’s alcohol and junk food culture for undermining ‘considerable progress’ in the NHS.

The report by the King’s Fund thinktank found Labour has improved access to primary care and cut hospital waiting times, but advised an urgent focus on tackling obesity and alcohol abuse.

There has been progress since 1997 in making the NHS more accountable and transparent to government and taxpayers, according to the 108-page report, entitled A High Performing NHS?.

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But the service is still failing to tackle obesity and alcohol effectively.

Consumption of alcohol has increased since 1998, accompanied by a rise in alcohol-related hospital admissions and rates of liver disease, the report said. It concluded “more aggressive, cross-departmental action will be needed in the future”.

“The prevalence of obesity is rising in adults and children, despite government targets to halt the increase. There has been improvement in rates of exercise and aspects of healthy eating, but it is too soon to evaluate some of the more recent government initiatives to reduce obesity.

“However, the predictions of significant increases in obesity-related ill health in the future mean that the next government will need to sustain investment in initiatives delivered by the NHS and all other relevant agencies.”

The report found the health service had become a priority for voters in the build up to the general election.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Obesity and alcohol will continue to drain NHS resources unless and until proper across-the-board preventative measures are put in place including using pricing mechanisms and, where appropriate, legal "bans".

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