Doctors 'paid to track obesity'
Doctors are being paid to compile lists of obese patients and then do nothing with them, a GP has said.
Dr David Haslam said the current system for paying doctors to track obesity was not working and did nothing to cut down the number of fat people.
GPs receive "bonus" payments under the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for work in several areas of disease, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma and obesity.
Yet Dr Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said this simply involved making lists and then weighing patients again a year later to ensure they were "still fat enough" that GPs got paid.
Dr Haslam told the Tackling Obesity 2010 conference in central London: "With obesity in the QOF I'm incentivised to identify fat people and make a list of them, and with the list do absolutely nothing, but when they come back a year later weigh them to make sure they are still fat enough that I continue to get paid."
Dr Haslam, a GP in Hertfordshire, said the current payments system relating to obesity was "a joke".
Many people who are obese also have Type 2 diabetes and yet this could be going undiagnosed, he said.
"We make a list and with that list we do absolutely nothing," he said. "The first person in the alphabet may be perfectly fine but the second person might have Type 2 diabetes that is as yet undiagnosed.
"We have got a list of people who could have diabetes and yet we are not doing anything with it. We are not even screening these people."
According to Diabetes UK, around half a million people in the UK have diabetes and do not know it.