Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday, 23 May 2011

Ride 'em, Cowboy!

From next year, GPs will receive a payment for every obese patient they advise to lose weight - on top of money for keeping lists of those who weigh too much. 
 So that's a bounty per head for corralling the obese into the surgery and signing them up – there’s gold in them thar spare tyres!
Under a national payment scheme for all family doctors, they will be able to boost their income if they record giving “weight management advice” to obese patients, or offer them a free place on a diet club, which the NHS would pay for. 
What an incentive, then, for Britain’s GPs - or practice managers – to leave their desks and go out rounding up ‘clients’ for this service, scouring the town’s fast food establishments and bowling alleys in search of its larger citizens. And imagine the scene when they run up against a rival posse from the surgery up the road, hell-bent on adding to their own list. Rustling would be rife - h/t JuliaM – as they struggle to steer their errant droves into the fold.
The plans form part of a desperate bid to tackle soaring rates of obesity in Britain, with two out of three adults now classed as overweight or obese. 
Desperate sounds about right – GPs surely have enough to do without preaching the gospel of weight loss to all and sundry. And who’s to say what qualifies a patient to generate these payments? A BMI of over 30 - generally accepted as defining obesity? It's the most likely, though it's a crude measure at best, taking no account whether the weight is fat or solid muscle. If so, a doctor could theoretically claim these payments for a patient list composed entirely of top sportsmen. The England rugby team doctor must be rubbing his – or her – hands in glee; everyone else will have to go out and find their own.

Count 'em out , ride 'em in, 
Ride 'em in, count 'em out, 
Count 'em out, ride 'em in,

  I am indebted to the Moose for inspiration.


  1. I wonder if there is some kind of fat finders fee available to bounty hunters rounding up fat whaps and bringing them in.

    Ta for link BTW

  2. Obese patients should stay away from their GP until the GP agrees to split the payment. In fact with a few cushions up my jumper...

  3. Bucko, are you thinking of applying? I dare say the doctors won't want to part with the cash but I'm sure you'll find some health authority ready to outsource procurement.

    AKH, an excellent suggestion!

    Incidentally, once the patients are on the list, won't the doctor lose money if they cease to be obese? I'm not sure this one's been properly thought through...