The Chief Executive of NHS England has said that the service should give companies money in exchange for asking their staff to lose weight and stop smoking. Simon Stevens claimed the move was vital to help plug the £8bn annual shortfall the NHS is expected to run by 2020.
Stevens has said he wants to “break out of the narrow confines” of the NHS treating the sick, and instead deal with the wider issue of public health. He believes incentives to get people to change their lifestyle is the key to this.
Stevens said: “We have no choice but to do this. If we do it, a better NHS is possible. If we don’t, the consequences for patients will be severe… The NHS is now at a crossroads — as a country we need to decide which way to go.”
But Chris Snowdon from the Institute of Ecominic Affairs expressed concern about that plan. He told Breitbart London: “There’s very little evidence that paying people to be healthy reduces healthcare costs in the long term.
“On the contrary, it is likely to cost more. Taxpayers would rightly be resentful if their money was used to bribe fat people into losing weight. If the government wants to get more bang for its buck it should close down pointless quangos like Public Health England and spend the money on frontline healthcare instead.”
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Between 2000 and 2010, the NHS budget nearly doubled and hit the hundreds of billions, and yet the National Audit Office told us that productivity and care didn’t improve. The NHS problem will not be solved by more money, but by more fundamental reform of the way the system works and the way it is funded.”