NHS could pay the overweight for slimming

A new scheme, in which overweight patients can earn money slimming, could be introduced in a bid to battle Britain's obesity crisis. Following a successful pilot, where patients earned money from private firm Weight Wins, further trials are underway within the NHS.

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Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust, which supervised the initial pilot, was reportedly pleased with the results. One patient managed to earn the maximum £425 by reaching a target of three stone lost in seven months and remaining slimmer for six months. And now the scheme looks set to be extended with maximum payments upped to £1,750 if patients can shed 10 stone in 21 months.

Although the NHS will pay a £185 administration fee to enlist each patient, the weight loss 'earnings' are paid by Weight Wins. While that may seem like a lot of money, bearing in mind the increasing numbers of over-eating Brits, consider that the NHS is currently spending huge amounts of taxpayer's cash on sending patients to Slimming World and it suddenly doesn't seem such a bad idea.

The Telegraph recently revealed that the NHS had spent more than £3m over a three year period buying vouchers for Slimming World and referring people to Weight Watchers. So perhaps this new scheme may encourage more people to take their weight seriously.

On the other hand, is it right that the taxpayer should foot the bill for Britain's unhealthy eating habits?