GPs urged to screen and manage patients' obesity

GPs should screen patients for obesity and actively manage them to help them lose weight, a Conservative policy advisory group has claimed.

Centre-right think tank the Bow Group backed a QOF indicator being developed by NICE that would see GPs offer weight management advice to obese patients.

The report came ahead of a NICE meeting this week to select indicators to recommend for next year's framework. The Bow Group reviewed how the UK could reduce the burden of obesity on patients, the NHS and the economy.

Hertfordshire GP Dr David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, told the review: 'The QOF incentivises GPs to register obese patients and weigh them again the next year to ensure they still qualify.

'There are no incentives for inducing weight loss. Management of the overweight and obese must be prioritised alongside prevention.'

NICE has proposed an indicator to measure 'the percentage of patients on the obesity register whose notes contain a record that weight management advice or inclusion in a weight management programme has been offered at least once'.

NICE's QOF advisory team will meet this week to decide whether to recommend the indicator for 2012/13. The team will discuss other public health indicators including a register of smokers offered help to quit and the percentage of patients with hypertension offered brief interventions on exercise.

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The Bow Group report

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