Local Incentives To Cut Lifestyle Risks

PCTs could set up local quality initiatives to reward GPs for promoting healthy lifestyles, says a DoH report. In addition, all practice-based commissioning schemes will be expected to include a means of ‘incentivising practice-based commissioners to reduce people’s lifestyle risks’ by 2008/9.

The Commissioning Framework for Health and Wellbeing hit the headlines last week, encouraging GPs to move into lifestyle management by prescribing ‘non-health interventions’ such as air-conditioning for COPD patients and anger management courses for children with behavioural problems.

The report calls for commissioning organisations to create ‘local financial incentives to encourage early action for those at risk from an unhealthy lifestyle and the development of person-centred care’.

Incentives could be created by PCTs, local authorities or both. The report says local authorities already have the power to create incentive schemes of this type.

Schemes that could be incentivised as part of person-centred care include devolving budgets to patients, agreeing joint health and social care plans and setting up multidisciplinary teams across health and social care, the report says.