Lecturing the patient on their lifestyle choices during this time is likely to appear rushed and inappropriate, especially if doctors see the task as a box-ticking exercise. There is a high risk that such an approach will leave the patient feeling frustrated, resentful, and reluctant to return.
Indeed so. Mandatory hectoring would be a terrible idea. It's not that I think that health advice is a bad thing, it's just that it should be relevant and timely.
Having said that, if I'm going to receive health advice I'd rather it came from a qualified GP who has actually met me, not some distant bureaucrat with an advertising account and an axe to grind. This is where I part company with The Lancet, which doesn't seem to approve of the concept of advice at all.
Effective, evidenced-based public health measures do not include nudging people into healthy behaviours or getting NHS staff to lecture patients on healthy lifestyles. They include measures such as raising taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, fatty foods, and sugary drinks, reducing junk food and drink advertising to children, and restricting hours on sale of alcoholic drinks.
Quelle surprise. This is, after all, The Lancet, where whatever the question is, bans and taxes are the answer.
Here we see the true moral cowardice of public health. They know that any doctor who harasses his patients in the same way that 'public health professionals' harass the population will be assaulted on a daily basis, so they hide behind the government, goading it on to ever greater illiberalism. The public will still feel "frustrated" and "resentful" at having their money and liberties stolen, but they will vent their frustration on politicians, not GPs. Like all bullies, 'public health professionals' are cowards at heart.
The government should show true leadership and make effective legislation the cornerstone of their public health strategy. Focusing on other approaches is foolish. The nudge and nag approaches need one thing: the firm elbow.
The firm elbow, indeed—for when nudging and nagging is no longer enough! You can't say you haven't been warned. Does anyone else find it perverse that politicians want people to get health advice and doctors want to make laws? When exactly did this job swap happen? And would The Lancet care to set up a Doctors' Party and run for office so we can see just how much popular support there is for the firm elbow?