Obese patients ‘surgery ban’ in York to be reviewed – BBC News

Obese patients 'surgery ban' in York to be reviewed - BBC News

Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News

Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News Image copyright PA

A move that could have seen obese patients rejected surgery in an attempt to save money is to be reviewed after national NHS bosses intervened.

A proposed limited by the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group would have assured non-life threatening procedures delayed by a year for those with a body mass indicator outstripping 30.

The rule would also apply to smokers.

NHS England, which are able to intervene as the CCG is under special measures, said the group had agreed to rethink the move.

Under the move, obese patients in the Vale of York area could have secured a referral in less than a year if they shed 10% of their weight.

Similarly, if smokers refused to quit they would face having procedures delayed for up to six months, which could be accelerated if they stopped smoking for eight weeks.

The CCG said the proposals, announced as part of a package of measures being considered to reduce costs, came at a time when the local system was under “severe pressure”.

The new rules would only apply to elective surgery for non-life threatening procedures, for example hip and knee operations.

‘No blanket bans’

But a spokesman for NHS England said: “Reducing obesity and cutting smoking not only benefits patients, but saves the NHS and taxpayers millions of pounds.

“This does not and cannot mean blanket prohibitions on particular patients such as smokers getting operations, which would be inconsistent with the NHS constitution.”

Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News Image copyright PA Image caption There were 14.5 million obese people in the UK in 2014, a study showed

Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers representing acute care, ambulance and community service, said he was worried about plans such as this being made.

NHS boss now believed they had reached the phase at which the health service was simply being asked to deliver too much for the funding that was available, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said rather than commissioning groups inducing “piecemeal decisions”, there should be a national debate about the future of the healthcare system.


Analysis by Robert Pigott, BBC health correspondent

When front-line health services exposed a deficit of 460 m for the first three months of the financial year, hospital trusts said it was time for a national debate about what the NHS could now afford to do if it were to remain free.

Although it is now under review, the proposal by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group to omit obese people and smokers from non-emergency surgery has started that debate in earnest.

The CCG calculates obesity expense the NHS in the Vale of York 46 m in 2015, but is it right to target obese people to bring costs down?

There is a clinical rationale. Obese patients suffer more complications during and after surgery than those of “normal” weight.

Despite this, some might insure the decision as sending a signal of disapproval to those who are overweight.

The implication could be that being overweight is a personal lifestyle option, adopted at the expense of the wider community.

Obesity has been linked with being poorer, and living in so-called “obesogenic” environments, where unhealthy, fattening, food is easier to get than more expensive, healthy, alternatives.

It is often hard to lose weight to which the body has adapted itself, and delaying operations on hips and knees might further restriction the prospect of success.

The proposal could have benefited obese people as well as the health service if it succeeded in persuading them to lose weight.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Vale of York approach, it does, in effect, indicate a revised contract with patients – a new deal that requires people to take reasonable steps to preserve their own health, rather than expecting the NHS to pick up the pieces.


Shaw Somers, a bariatric surgeon based in Portsmouth, said it was a somewhat logical step to save money, but was short-term and discriminatory.

“Obesity is an illness and for these people, they are not deliberately waking up each morning supposing ‘how do I bide fat? ‘, ” he told the Today programme.

“They are trying to lose weight in the vast majority of cases and to deny them therapy that they need on the basis of their weight, without then offering them effective help to help them lose weight is instead like discriminating[ against] a segment of the population on the basis of their colouring or religious persuasion.”


Body Mass Index

Body mass index( BMI ) is used to calculate whether a person is underweight, a healthy weight, overweight or obese for their height It is calculated by dividing someone’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres Generally the higher your BMI, “the worlds largest” the health risks of a large scope of medical problems A BMI above 30 is medically classified as obese Some doctors say it can be inaccurate if you’re an athlete or very muscular

Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News
Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News
Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News
Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News
Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News

Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News

Obese Patients 'surgery Ban' In York To Be Reviewed - BBC News

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