Public asked about health cash reward scheme

Smoking Financial incentives could be used to encourage people to stop smoking

Related Stories

A public consultation is being launched over whether the NHS in England and Wales should offer financial incentives to encourage healthier lifestyles.

NICE, the advisory body for the health service, has already been exploring the issue.

But it now wants to know what the public thinks after the idea got the thumbs up from its citizen's council.

Nearly two thirds of the 32-strong group - used as a sounding board for sensitive topics - backed incentives.

In May, NICE officials told the BBC incentives could play a key role in tackling smoking, obesity and drinking rates and was working with academics to see how and when they worked best.


Its citizen's council agrees the idea has merit - as long as the payments are not allowed to be used for unhealthy pursuits.

The backing has prompted the public consultation which will be run until the end of November.

Incentive schemes are already operated in some areas to mixed success, while NICE has already backed their use for drug users.

However, it is unlikely the current government would allow NICE to formally recommend incentives as an option for the whole health service.

A Department of Health spokesman described them as an undesirable use of money and should only be adopted as a "last resort".

Instead, it seems the only way the advisory body would end up backing them would be for niche groups, such as specific age groups or for people from certain social backgrounds, if there was strong evidence they worked.

NICE chairman Sir Michael Rawlins said: "We clearly face several public health challenges in today's society, some more obvious than others, and we must seek to improve these in ways that are likely to achieve the best health outcomes for those affected."

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

* May require registration or subscription

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Health stories


Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?

  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?

  • A woman puts on a surgical mask during hospital Ebola training in Alabama.'Dark continent'

    Is prejudice fuelling Ebola outbreak hysteria in the US?

  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit


  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.