Overweight or unhealthy people who refuse to attend exercise sessions could have their benefits slashed, in a move proposed by Westminster Council.
GPs would also be allowed to prescribe leisure activities such as swimming and fitness classes under the idea. Now I wouldnt mind a prescription like that, its linking it to benefit cuts that is causing many to regard this as ridiculous.
"The Tory-controlled council said the aim was to save £5bn from the NHS budget when local authorities take over public health provision from April."
BMA member and GP Dr Lawrence Buckman called the idea "draconian and silly". Not to mention verging on the fascist.
The report said: “Where an exercise package is prescribed to a resident, housing and council tax benefit payments could be varied to reward or incentivise residents.”
Westminster council leader Philippa Roe said: “This report contains exactly the sort of bright, forward-thinking and radical ideas that need to be looked at.” She must be on anothet planet.
Dr Lawrence Buckman said “When I was first told about this I thought it was a joke. The best way councils can intervene is to stop restaurants and fast-food chains providing the kind of food that makes people put on weight.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “From April local areas will be given a ring-fenced budget to help tackle obesity in the community. We will soon be launching a new campaign to encourage healthy eating.”
Several councils have already introduced schemes that allow doctors to prescribe exercise at local facilities including swimming pools, gyms, yoga and walking clubs.
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