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Council objects to CCG plans to restrict surgery for obese patients and smokers



The City of York Council has objected to CCG plans to limit treatments for patients who smoke or who are obese.

NHS Vale of York CCG has decided to impose conditions on surgery, introducing new criteria asking patients who smoke to quit smoking for at least two months and those who have a BMI of over 30 to lose weight before surgery.

This will come into effect from January but will exclude several groups of patients, including those needing urgent surgery and children.

But City of York Council carried a motion last week objecting to the move. The motion argued that this sets a ‘dangerous precedent’, is ‘unfair’ and ‘threatens to exacerbate existing health inequalities’. It also references the Royal College of Surgeons’ view which labels the policy as ‘frankly shocking’.

The council will now write to the CCG, NHS England chief executive Simon Steven and to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, objecting to this in the ‘strongest possible terms’.

Councillor Stuart Barnes, who presented the motion, told the York Press: ‘We should all do more to take personal responsibility for our health. The fact remains, however, that wealthier communities have lower rates of smoking and obesity.’

An NHS Vale of York CCG spokesperson said: ‘The local system is under severe pressure. The policy; already in place in many parts of the country, will help to ensure that we get the very best value from the NHS and not exceed our resources or risk the ability of the NHS being there when people really need it.

‘The CCG wants to support work that helps the community to stop smoking and where needed, lose weight.’

This follows moves by other CCGs to put conditions on treatment for these patients with NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG saying that 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.