Patients who go to the gym and eat their five-a-day should be able to queue-jump NHS waiting lists, a think-tank has suggested.
Those who can prove their lifestyles are healthy would be given priority for all non-emergency appointments, operations and treatment, it said.
The think-tank Demos also wants patients on benefits to be given extra cash if they take exercise and eat a balanced diet.
In a report today, it makes a number of controversial recommendations to encourage the public to take responsibility for their own health.
The authors point out that the current system is unfair, as patients who don’t make any attempt to be healthy are more likely to need the NHS’s scarce resources.
Instead, the think-tank wants to encourage the public to take regular exercise and eat more fruit and vegetables by rewarding them for doing so.
One suggestion is to allow patients to earn points by going to the gym or buying certain healthy foods at the supermarket.
These could then be used by doctors to assess whether they deserved priority treatment on the NHS.
Another is to reward patients on benefits with cash top-ups if they could prove they had been to the gym or bought fruit and veg.
The think-tank says the Government must take a more radical approach to tackling the obesity epidemic.
A quarter of adults are obese although this proportion is expected to double by 2050.
Figures also show that the NHS spends an estimated £5.1billion a year on conditions caused by being overweight or obese, such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Max Wind-Cowie, author of the report, said: ‘These proposals are about more than just saving money; they are about helping people make informed decisions and take greater personal and collective responsibility – an attitude that has become even more salient now that there is less in the coffers.
‘Government and the private sector should adopt an enabling and pro-active approach to supporting individuals, families and communities into doing the right thing and taking more responsibility.
‘It is no longer enough to simply step back and assume people will fill the gap.
‘Polling has consistently shown this view strikes a chord with the general public, and these nudge-plus proposals offer some practical idea of how we could see it in action.’
The Government has been criticised for failing to do enough to tackle obesity with the likes of TV chef Jamie Oliver describing policies as ‘utterly inadequate’.
Other campaigners have accused ministers of ‘cosying up’ to the food industry by allowing them to set their own rules to limit salt, sugar and fat.
2013 Miles in 2013 – Sponsor Me!
The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles and in February I completed a further 200.9 miles. If you can please spare £4.07 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.
The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.
2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules
The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:
- All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
- I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment
To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.