Commercial slimming clubs cheaper than NHS programmes

Commercial slimming clubs are cheaper and more effective than NHS weight-loss programmes, a University of Birmingham team has found.

The researchers looked at outcomes for three commercial slimming clubs and three NHS programmes: primary care nurse-led counselling, pharmacy-based counselling and group-based dietetics.

All these groups were compared against a control group who were all given 12 vouchers for free leisure centre use but received no other intervention.

At 12 weeks, all three commercial programmes (Rosemary Conley, Slimming World and Weight Watchers) achieved weight loss beyond that seen in the control group, but none of the NHS programmes did.

At one year, only the Weight Watchers programme was able to achieve weight loss beyond that seen in the control group.

The nurse-led and pharmacy-based counselling did not achieve sustained weight loss at one year.

The researchers calculated that, at around £55 for a 12-session course, commercial programmes provided better value for money than funding NHS programmes.

Professor Paul Aveyard, who led the research, said the findings represented ‘a significant step forward’ in assessing weight-loss services’ relative quality and value.

‘Its conclusions should be of significant interest to commissioners: of all the services we tested from both the NHS and commercial providers, at programme end only the commercial programmes had significantly greater weight loss than those patients who were left to "go it alone".’

A spokesman for Weight Watchers said the results provided ‘a clear message for GP commissioners about how to achieve value for money in commissioning weight management programmes, at a time where they're being asked to deliver more for less with regard to public health outcomes’.

The study’s findings were presented at the European Conference on Obesity last week.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston among latest MPs to join breakaway group

Former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston among latest MPs to join breakaway group

Health and social care committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has left...

Global sum to increase by just 92p in 2019/20

Global sum to increase by just 92p in 2019/20

Practices will receive just 92p more per weighted patient as their global sum in...

NHS must overhaul complaints system to better support staff, says HEE

NHS must overhaul complaints system to better support staff, says HEE

The NHS needs to undertake a 'root and branch' examination of how it handles complaints...

GP premises need 'urgent investment' says BMA as half are not fit for purpose

GP premises need 'urgent investment' says BMA as half are not fit for purpose

The BMA has called on the government to 'urgently invest' in general practice premises...

CQC to assess triage apps on GP inspections

CQC to assess triage apps on GP inspections

The CQC has said that it will assess the use of triage apps and systems in GP practices...

CQC urges patients to complain about GP services in bid to improve care

CQC urges patients to complain about GP services in bid to improve care

The CQC is encouraging members of the public to speak up about negative experiences...