Obese patients avoid weight-loss scheme

A total of 499 obese patients were referred from GPs practices, but only 237 actually started the programme.
A total of 499 obese patients were referred from GPs practices, but only 237 actually started the programme.

Patients too obese for surgery are being encouraged by their GPs to take responsibility for their own health by changing their lifestyle.

Almost 500 patients were referred by clinicians on to a six-month weight management programme in the East Riding last year – but only around a half took part.

The scheme also targets smokers and aims to improve a patients’ health and wellbeing before they are referred on for ‘non-urgent’ surgery – such as a knee or hip replacement.

Local health bosses have welcomed the approach, which has also been trialled in a number of clinical commissioning group regions since its introduction in October 2017.

Will Uglow, assistant director of planned and primary care at East Riding CCG, said: “Part of the reason why we wanted to do this was to try and improve the health outcomes of patients for years to come.

“So with schemes such as this we’re trying to get people to get themselves healthier.

“As well as this we’ll start doing lots of work on self-help and self-management of other conditions as well, which is all about saving money or saving pressure on the [health] system further down the line.”

Mr Uglow admitted that patient numbers were lower than expected and that some GPs were even sceptical of the scheme at first, but added that they were now “coming on board” with it. He also confirmed that a pilot phase of the scheme will continue.