The National Health Service this week released details that they are exploring the possibility of health cash plans to encourage healthier lifestyles. Many areas have already started up their schemes and early signs suggest that the results will be positive.
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 that NICE has considered cash incentives; previously they have backed rewards to encourage people off drugs. NICE are hoping to gauge public reaction into the proposals by putting the concept in front of its citizen’s council on Thursday and Friday (20th & 21st May 2010).
In a bid to determine public reaction, NICE is planning to push role out the concept in front of its citizen’s council on Thursday and Friday.
During a recent interview with the BBC Prof Mike Kelly who is the head of public health for NICE 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. 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.
Nice are working closely with a team of London-based experts from the London School of Economics, Queen Mary University and King’s College who are carrying out research into the issue alongside NICE. They are reviewing international evidence on cash plan incentives and are planning to carry out trials in the near future.
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