Local health authority imposes surgery ban for obese and smokers

A local health authority has announced they will deny operations to the obese and smokers as part of a cost cutting measure.

NHS Harrogate and the Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have said patients with a BMI over 30 and smokers will be offered a referral to a weight management clinic or stop smoking service for a six-month period instead.

CCG's chief officer Amanda Bloor said: "I feel the measures we are taking encourage patients to take a greater responsibility for their lifestyle choices.

"It is vital that patients are given the skills and knowledge to take accountability for their own wellbeing to ensure we all lead healthier lifestyles."

File photo of an overweight man. Credit: PA

She added: "The CCG are 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.

"With spending on obesity related ill-health and smoking related illness increasing year on year, these measures will help protect the future finances of the CCG and the wider local health economy."

In September, NHS England intervened to stop NHS Vale of York CCG from imposing a similar ban after the Royal College of Surgeons raised concerns the proposals went against clinical guidelines, and made patients who were obese and smokers soft targets.

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