Letter: NHS needs less drugs, more lifestyle prescriptions

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Hannah Kuchler’s excellent article on the “wonder drug for obesity” (FT Magazine, July 16) shed light on the ideological battle between those who believe in “drugs” and those who believe in “lifestyle”. for the management of long-term conditions.

In fact, the evidence is clear that both are essential. Anyone with a long-term illness receiving medication should also receive an activity prescription and many should also receive a diet prescription.

This is currently not the case and over the past 10 years I have received around 1000 little leaflets from the NHS about prescribed medication for my heart condition but not a single word about activity or diet.

Both are key and in the UK’s national program to enable people to ‘live better and longer’ – which aims to reduce the risk of dementia and frailty both through prevention and effective treatment of conditions such as as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure – we are putting in place activity prescriptions linked to drug prescriptions.

Of course, the person must follow the advice given. And just as many people don’t take the drugs, some will choose to ignore the knowledge provided that, in the words of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, exercise is the ‘miracle cure’.

Mr. Muir Gray
Oxford, United Kingdom

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