The NHS this week admitted they are considering a cash plan style option of financial incentives to encourage a healthier style of life for UK citizens. Some areas have undertaken their own schemes and they report that the results have given some encouragement.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which advises the NHS in England and Wales, believes the measures may help to tackle obesity, smoking and drinking. They describe cash incentives to reward changes in lifestyle as an “Idea whose time has come” and are looking to gather additional evidence before submitting a formal recommendation.
This is not the first time the body has considered rewarding people for change; they have previously encouraged the scheme to help people beat drug addiction.
In an earlier interview with the BBC, NICE’s head of public health, Professor Mike Kelly said “We will want to see evidence that it provides value for money, there is a question over whether behavior is sustained when incentives end”.
Head of public health for NICE, Professor Mike Kelly says; “We will want to see evidence that it provides value for money, there is a question over whether behavior is sustained when incentives end. Humans respond to incentives, we know that. What we now need to see is whether the economic behavior can be repeated in terms of health behavior. It is an idea whose time has come.”
Upon NICE backing a cash plan style scheme, recommendations for the plan covering England and Wales are still around a year away at least.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence are working closely with a team of London experts from King’s College, the London School of Economics and Queen Mary University to perform research into the proposals. They are reviewing data on cash plan initiatives and they plan to perform o trials in the future.