GPs plan to delay elective NHS ops for smokers and obese

GPs plan to delay elective NHS ops for smokers and obese

A PROPOSAL that could see operations for overweight adults delayed by up to year could be rolled out by January.

The district’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) put forward the idea to tackle obesity at a recent Kirklees Health and Adult Social Care scrutiny panel meeting.

Plans suggest that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above could be asked to lose 10 per cent of their weight before being able to have elective NHS surgery.

Smokers may also be affected by the new proposals. They could face a delay of up to six months while they try to kick the habit.

CCGs are made up of GP practices across the district and are led by local doctors and health professionals who work together to design, plan and commission local health services.

During the scrutiny panel meeting, attendees heard that the joint North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield CCG proposal was being finalised and could be in use as soon as January.

A report considering the move said there was evidence to suggest the lifestyle changes “improve patients’ primary outcomes”, but critics argue that individuals should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Ian Eardley, senior vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, argued: “To stop them even being seen by a surgeon because they are overweight or smoking is the wrong way to go about it.

“There are some patients who will benefit from losing weight, and perhaps some of their symptoms might get better, but that judgement is better for the surgeon to make face to face rather than just having a blanket ban for everybody.”

The CCGs admitted there would be exceptions, including people undergoing surgery for cancer, people who are frail and elderly, and those in need of an urgent procedure.

A CCG spokesman said: “People who smoke or who are obese experience more complications during and after surgery and can take longer to recover - this move offers people the opportunity of the best possible clinical outcome, as well as the longer term benefits of a healthier lifestyle.”

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