Letter: NHS needs fewer drugs, more lifestyle prescriptions

 Letter: NHS needs fewer drugs, more lifestyle prescriptions

The excellent article by Hannah Kuchler on the “miracle obesity drug” (FT Magazine, July 16) highlighted 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. Everyone with a long-term condition receiving drug treatment should also receive an activity prescription and many should also receive a diet prescription.

This is not happening at present and in the last 10 years I have received about 1,000 little leaflets from the NHS about the drugs prescribed for my heart disease but not a single word about activity or diet.

Both are essential and in the UK’s national programme to enable people to “Live Longer Better” — which is aimed at reducing the risk of dementia and frailty both through prevention and the effective treatment of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure — we are introducing activity prescriptions linked to drug prescriptions.

Of course the person has to take the advice given. And just as many people do not take the drugs, some will choose to ignore the knowledge provided, namely, that, in the words of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, exercise is the “miracle cure”.

Sir Muir Gray
Oxford, UK

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