Eat Out To Help Out is "a lost opportunity," says former British Medical Association deputy

3 August 2020, 16:30

By Seán Hickey

An ex-chief of the British Medical Association said that Eat Out To Help Out has been "done just to win headlines," and has too many holes.

Dr Kailash Chand OBE is the former Deputy Chair of the BMA and a retired GP of 40 years. He was speaking to Ian Payne as the government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme gets underway today. Dr Chand branded the scheme "a lost opportunity."

"One day you get an obesity strategy from the Government in which they won't really discourage junk food, and the other day you're giving this so-called £10 voucher to more or less make yourself more obese," he began.

The former Deputy Chair of the BMA noted that "this should have been an opportunity to incentivise by getting this food policy right," but the inclusion of fast food companies in the scheme has undermined the the obesity strategy rolled out last week.

Dr Chand said that an alternative scheme should have been to give "some kind of vouchers for healthy food and literally exclude junk food, sugary drinks," then he would have been able to get behind the scheme.

Dr Chand argued that including junk food in the offer is contradictory
Dr Chand argued that including junk food in the offer is contradictory. Picture: PA

The former Deputy Chair of the BMA was critical of the government's approach to the scheme. "Everything is done just to win headlines like it's a political campaign," he said.

He maintained that "if you're serious about the economy, about health, you should have done it much more rightly (sic), appropriately and thinking about it (sic)".

Dr Chand told Ian that "we've got to really build a healthy population," and including fast-food in the Eat Out To Help Out will make this much more difficult.

Ian challenged the expert, and wondered if the choice of eating unhealthy food should be scrapped entirely. Dr Chand denied this, stating that he wants people "to learn that eating those things will harm you."

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