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Doctors 'paid to compile lists of obese patients', but not to treat them


Doctors are being paid to compile lists of obese patients and then do nothing with them, a GP has claimed.

Dr David Haslam said the current system for paying doctors to track obesity was not working and did nothing to cut down the number of fat people.

GPs receive “bonus” payments under the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for work in several areas of disease, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma and obesity.

Yet Dr Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, told the Tackling Obesity 2010 conference in central London: “With obesity in the QOF I’m incentivised to identify fat people and make a list of them, and with the list do absolutely nothing, but when they come back a year later weigh them to make sure they are still fat enough that I continue to get paid.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of encouraging and supporting GPs to not only identify overweight adults but also support them with an appropriate intervention and ongoing management.”

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs Committee, said: “Making lists of obese patients is something the Government wanted GPs to do, despite us saying there wasn’t the evidence to prove it made a difference to levels of obesity.

“GPs’ main concern is their patients’ wellbeing and therefore screening obese patients for diabetes is done as a matter of routine: it doesn’t need to be part of an incentive scheme because it’s good medical practice.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • And yet again Doctors get paid good bonuses for doing extra work outside their remit on top of their already decent salaries.

    When the hell are our so called unions going to get off their arses and get a simialar deal for Nurses?

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  • Martin Gray

    I wonder if anyone has done any research to show the correlation between the increase in obesity and smoking cessation yet. Since the latter was invested in by millions of £s there seems less investment in the former. Obesity , resulting in diabetes, CHD, arthritis and numerosu other problems, costs far more in the long term than people suffering with diseases related to smoking. Also do fat people live longer than smokers?
    If the Government can't get revenue from tobacco and alcohol they will find other ways of doing so - as we will all no doubt find out after the next election.

    If doctors are going to be paid for making up these lists, and there is little incentive to decreace patients weight as they won't get paid if they do, then this is just an expensive and pointless QOF. However, ig they are paid on results then that would at least mean the money was earned!

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  • I have today been to my practice nurse to ask her to sign the medical form for me to do the Lighter Life programme as my BMI is 45. I am a seriel dieter and have tried every diet going and see this as my last chance. She said that it was surgery policy not to sign these forms as Lighter Life are asking GPs to monitor a programme they are providing. As I am on medication for raised BP, cholesterol, underactive thyroid, asthma and pernicious aneaemia should the GP not be monitoring me any way. Every time I go to the surgery they tell me to lose weight but it seems they are not prepared to help me with this.

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  • Lighterlife requires you have your B/P monitored and recorded on their card which must be signed by a medical practitioner or nurse. I used to get mine done at Lloyd's chemist free when I was on the Lighterlife diet.

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