Plans to deny surgery to obese patients and smokers put on hold

The Vale of York’s proposed restrictions were described as the ‘most severe’ policy the modern NHS has seen by the Royal College of Surgeons [Image: Anthony Devlin/PA].

The Vale of York’s proposed restrictions were described as the ‘most severe’ policy the modern NHS has seen by the Royal College of Surgeons [Image: Anthony Devlin/PA].


What do we think of this? Is it a victory for good healthcare?

A health authority that suggested it would deny non-life-threatening surgery to the obese and smokers has said it will put its proposals on hold.The plans by Vale of York clinical commissioning group (CCG) could have meant that patients who exceed a body mass index (BMI) of 30 would face delays in receiving some NHS surgery for up to a year.

Leading medics have warned it could become part of a growing trend in hospitals that could result in overweight patients being denied elective medical procedures in a bid to cut costs.

The restrictions were described as the “most severe” policy the modern NHS has seen by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

Source: Plans to deny surgery to obese patients and smokers put on hold | Society | The Guardian

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15 thoughts on “Plans to deny surgery to obese patients and smokers put on hold

  1. Andy Carter

    Seems they’ve put off trying to hammer this square peg into its round hole. Any word on whether the ‘hold’ will result on change of the policy, or just delay?

  2. Rusty

    I think the NHS needs an overhaul in part the way JC suggested and in part the government advice that NHS staff have to follow! I do not eat meat fish or dairy and I will not get heart disease or type 2 diabetes! Something not promoted by GP’S .

    1. Joan Edington

      I think you’re being a bit naive there Rusty. Maybe you will be reducing you chances of these diseases but there is no way anyone can guarantee they will never get them, whatever their dietary restrictions.

    2. wildswimmerpete

      @Rusty
      ” I will not get heart disease or type 2 diabetes!”………….I wouldn’t bet on that, mate. Fate may have other ideas. I have moderate heart failure despite being previously extremely healthy and active, a problem that hasn’t arisen through a poor diet (I don’t smoke) but down to a CONGENITAL heart defect that remained hidden until I just turned 50. Type “2” diabetes often results as a part of the overall baggage that comes with ageing, not necessarily due to any poor diet.

  3. Nick

    a lot of people can be overweight with thyroid/pituitary conditions and nothing to do with eating or smoking

    makes you wonder how many in the Vale of York clinical commissioning group know anything about medicine?

    1. Joan Edington

      Indeed. Although I am, admittedly, overweight at the moment, when I was younger I got myself down to a size 10 and nobody would have looked at me and said I was fat. However, I have been blessed with what my Mum always called child-bearing hips. In other words I have large bones and my BMI, calculated simply from weight and height, is not a fair reflection of my health. The idea that the NHS should use such a measure to deny treatment is rediculous.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I agree.
        I also have child-bearing hips (and a fat lot of good they do me)!
        My BMI has always unfairly reflected my health so I know that your assessment is correct.

  4. mohandeer

    Discriminating against certain people is the first step on a slippery slope. Why not alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, HIV victims, extreme sports fanatics, people who go on benders, the list will just get longer until we get to social miscreants who are just asking to get ill or people who cannot afford preventative meds?

    1. Dez

      Good points….doubtless those who can afford private insurance policies will not have obese conditions written in their policies. The obesity problem is weighted against those on limited budgets who have to live on junk food and sugar soaked food and drink. However the government seems to be more interested in listening and protecting the industries than listening to good medical advice. I am also disappointed by how many times I have been counselled and advised by medical professionals who are far more obese than I am! .

    2. shawn

      mohandeer, as always your comments take in the bigger picture: with its what follows from this way of thinking; so to state. Of course for those with private health care policies all these ‘nudge’ based concepts do not apply. The same would apply to those with unemployment insurance and disability insurance, etc., (not to consider mum and dad or the family estate). It’s getting increasingly easier to become poor and difficult to be so; while, if your wealthy you’re ever more likely to be left alone. .

  5. peskirabbit

    Yes not only is discriminating against certain people the start of a slippery slope, but obesity is often the *result* of disease; many people on antipsychotic medication pile on weight for example, and a breadline lifestyle is also good for piling on flab. The assumption behind this is that both obesity and smoking are elective things; this is a simplistic attitude. As far as smoking is concerned, yes its better if people can give up, but not if the result of that is that they take to some other self-medication or end up hitting their child in the stress of withdrawal. Just an excuse to exclude people as far as I can see.

Comments are closed.