You may recall a while ago we wrote an article on obese patients facing a surgery ban in England. It seems this restriction is under review in York.
Our original article highlighted the reasons for the surgery ban and why British Surgeons were concerned over the restrictions being placed on overweight patients. However, the money saving method is currently being reevaluated.
A proposed surgery ban by the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group would have seen non-life threatening procedures put on hold by a year for those with a body mass index exceeding 30. The rule would also apply to smokers. Obese patients in the Vale of York may secure a referral in less than a year if they shed 10% of their weight. Similarly, if smokers refused to quit they could face having procedures delayed for up to six months. Although, this could be accelerated if they stopped smoking for eight weeks. It is said the restrictions came at a time of ‘severe pressure’.
Chris Hopson is the head of NHS Providers representing acute care, ambulance and community services. He believes that the NHS has reached a place where funding cannot cover everything and that he has no worries over plans like this being put in place. He went on to suggest that there should be a national conversation regarding the future of the healthcare system.
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) have described the suggested restrictions. They say they are “some of the most severe the modern NHS has ever seen”.
Clare Marx, RCS president, said:
“Smokers and overweight patients should unquestionably be helped to stop smoking or lose weight prior to surgery for their overall health.
“We would support any attempts by Vale of York to expand its weight loss and smoking cessation programmes, but introducing blanket bans that delay patients’ access to what can be life-changing surgery for up to a year is wrong.”
There are around 6.8 million obese men in the UK and 7.7 million obese women. A lot of money would potentially be saved. However, a lot of lives could be put at risk or made significantly more difficult. A statement from the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“NHS England has today asked us to review the draft approach, which we will now do, and will hold off implementing anything until we have an agreed way forward.
“We will ensure any plans are implemented in line with national guidance, are in the best interests of our patients and are clinically robust.”
To conclude, what do you think of the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s ideas for their patients? Do you agree or disagree?
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