Will the NHS now pay you to lose weight?
Bloaters are always being told about the downsides of being a bit porky - heart disease, diabetes etc- but there’s never been any good news.
Until now. Now, it actually pays to be overweight. A new report by NHS England Chief Exec Simon Stevens outlines a massive £8bn deficit in NHS funding over the next five years and outlines a number of ways in which the gap in finance can be filled. One idea is to reduce NHS spending on all the fat people, by paying them to be less fat.
The report outlines how employers are a key partner in forcing people to lose weight, and how they could reward employees, in cash, shopping vouchers or with prizes, who successfully lose weight. The idea, of course, is that the money the NHS pays out in reimbursing employers will be more than outweighed (arf arf) by the savings for not having to buy more super-sized beds, for example.
But is this really a good plan? While people carrying a few extra pounds who are thinking of slimming down are going to be chuffed at gaining a few quid for their troubles, isn't this a bit unfair on those who don’t need to lose weight? What about all those people who have spent a fortune on slimming clubs so they aren't overweight any more? That could be a bit hard to swallow. Should slim people start eating all the pies now so they can get heavy enough to lose some weight and pocket the cash?
And would such a scheme create a different kind of environment at work? Would people who don’t lose weight feel ostracised or even overlooked for promotion? Do you really want your employer knowing how much you weigh and giving you cash on the basis of your poundage? And what about the poor old self-employed- do they just have to stay fat?
Of course, this is not policy, merely a recommendation as to one way to plug a funding gap. But people used to say they’d never be able to ban smoking either. Perhaps overweight people will one day be a distant memory too…