More obesity discrimination: The NHS will deny non-urgent surgery to obese patients

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The NHS will deny obese patients their right to surgery unless they lose weight. You may have read my earlier blog, Fat shaming: how society views the obese; which spoke about the discrimination that those people who are obese face in day to day life.

I was disappointed but not surprised to see an article on the front page of the Daily Telegraph. With weight loss surgery in the NHS reducing to as few as 5,000 per year (France does around 40,000) it’s now the case that not only can the obese not get weight loss surgery but in some parts of the country they can’t get treatment for other illnesses too.

In order to qualify for any surgery, anyone with a BMI of 30 or more will have to lose 10% of their weight. If you have a BMI over 40, you’ll will have to shed 15%. If, at the end of the nine-months waiting period, the patients haven’t lost the weight, their case will be considered by a clinical panel which could result in an indefinite waiting period.

The reason behind this discriminatory idea is to seek a saving of £68 million during this financial year. I have sympathy for the NHS commissioners as they have to make very tough decisions on priorities, but in this case obese patients are definitely getting the thin end of the wedge.

If you are obese and want weight loss surgery, most patients are now having it done privately. If other procedures are also being rationed, it’s another good reason to have surgery and get your weight into a healthy range.

Picture of Martyn Berrett

Martyn Berrett

Martyn is the former MD of Healthier Weight. Throughout his tenure he observed many bariatric procedures and took part in several research projects so has a unique perspective on all things weight loss.

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