NHS told to quiz patients on lifestyle

Patients should be asked about their diet, smoking and drinking habits every time they see a health professional, say government advisers.

The NHS Future Forum wants lifestyle issues to be discussed as a matter of routine, even when individuals have unrelated illness to prevent ill-health and the massive cost burdens it imposes on the health service.

The forum’s call to make “every contact count” is the centrepiece of a report commissioned by the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, and due to be published next month.

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Professor Steve Field, who heads the advisory body, said all healthcare professionals – not just doctors and nurses – should pro-actively raise lifestyle every time they see patients.

He added: “The NHS needs to change from patching people up when they are ill to promoting healthy living and preventing illness.”

The plan has been drawn up by fAsh Soni, a pharmacist, and Vicky Bailey, of the clinical commissioning group in Nottingham.