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GPs to assign patients to weight-loss programme before surgery

More GPs will be asked to help patients quit smoking or lose weight before surgery, as another CCG joins the ranks of commissioners restricting services.

Going forward, smokers and patients with a BMI of 30 or over 'will be offered a referral to either a weight management programme or stop smoking services for a six-month period’ before being considered for surgery, NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG said.

The CCG, which has a projected deficit of £8.4m for the current financial year, said the new measure would ’help protect the future finances of the CCG and the wider local health economy.’

CCG chief officer Amanda Bloor said: ‘The CCG [is] not saying patients can’t have the surgery.

'By introducing a six-month health optimisation period, we are encouraging and supporting patients to undertake a lifestyle change which will provide them with the best possible clinical outcome.’

The policy, which excludes surgery related to cancer or suspected cancer, urgent procedures and patients with severe mental illness, is one of a range of initiatives by the CCG to try and close its deficit. It will also conduct a review of follow-up appointments to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and work with GPs and pharmacies to reduce prescribing costs and promote self-care.

The news comes as a report from the Royal College of Surgeons, published in April, warned that one in three CCGs are now denying or delaying routine surgery to patients, in contravention of national guidance, with smokers and obese patients seen as 'soft targets' for service rationing.

Readers' comments (6)

  • £8.4bn or £8.4m deficit?? - well done chaps - that must have taken some doing. Jeremy will be having a little wee wee.

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  • It will also conduct a review of follow-up appointments to reduce unnecessary hospital visits '
    is this code for 'dump hospital work on GPs'
    I hope the CCG membership is holding the executive to account on this

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  • A vote of no confidence in this shower perchance?

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  • slippery slope alert! gps will refer to weight loss/smoking services for 6 months before surgery is considered ...-gps to refer to weight loss/smoking services etcetc before being allowed to REFER for considering surgery - GPs to refer only those who ACHIEVE bmi

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  • This is a good idea. I am reading Dr Michael Moseley's Book the 8 week blood sugar diet which may ward off a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis which is a common diagnosis in my age group. When we walked to work in the fields or factories in the 18th-19th centuries, it did not matter so much what we ate but, now we drive to sedentary jobs, it does matter. I would suggest in my age group (70) dropping one's calories intake to 500 calories per day for 8 weeks after which we can graduate to 1750 calories per day and, so long was one walks or cycles or runs of swims during the first 8 weeks, one will leech from the pancreas the fats accumulated thereon which inhibit insulin production, and keep off animal fats for the future whilst exercising it may be possible to ward off or reverse a diagnosis of diabetes Type 2 which can have all sorts of adverse sequelae if allowed to take hold of one unimpeded. Many people do not look after their health enough.

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  • I did see a TV item about a young teenaged dancer with a bit of a twist in his spine, and after being referred for some sort of supportive metal implant, the CCG said they no longer paid for this procedure. Was this because of funding cuts or because of the procedure being clinically inappropriate or ineffective? The CCG should explain the reason. Otherwise I shall campaign for the CCGs' abolition. The administration charge on the NHS budget when I started working in the NHS was 5% but commissioning has increased this charge to 15% to 30% of the NHS Budget when this money would be better spent on training and recruiting more doctors and nurses and improving the care of our patients.

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