A GROUND-BREAKING programme to help people transform their unhealthy lifestyles has been set up by four concerned health professionals.

Dr Simon Smale, a consultant gastroenterologist at York Hospital, has used his expertise and experience to set up More than just Medicine - a new healthcare plan to reduce the burden of chronic disease through education and empowering patients to make healthy decisions.

Dr Smale has set up the unique project alongside three other experts in their fields.

They include Dr Sanjay Gupta, a cardiologist at York Hospital, dietician Annette Cockfield and exercise professional Tom Linnish.

Anyone who accesses the 16-week course, which has been funded by the four partners, will find a wealth of information on fitness, nutrition and health in an online portal.

They will work with the team to address lifestyle changes, and measure the impact it has on blood pressure, blood sugar levels and overall quality of life.

Dr Smale said: “Lifestyle related disease costs the NHS £40 billion a year.

“The way we manage that in the current system is someone will come to see me with fatty liver disease or Type 2 Diabetes and I will say ‘you need to lose weight and do more exercise’, and see them in nine months.

“They may come back and not have lost weight, and that’s not supporting behavioural change.”

Dr Smale says volunteers have already tested the programme and found it to be a success, but he believes large changes still need to take place in society.

Theses include changing the way supermarkets display eye-catching calorie-dense food and pricing alcohol by the unit to reduce the amount people drink.

Dr Sanjay Gupta, medical director of More than Just Medicine, added: “We believe patients are tired of being treated with an ever increasing number of pills.

“Patients want to take charge of their own health and we really believe that this is best done by healthcare professionals working in partnership with patients, giving them reliable and evidence-based information and treating them holistically, and this is the vision behind More than just Medicine.”

For more information about how to get started visit www.morethanjustmedicine.co.uk.