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A report in The Telegraph describes NHS plans to prohibit patients from non-urgent surgery unless they lose weight or stop smoking.
The plans have been drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, who have said that obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight” unless the circumstances are exceptional. Smokers will only be referred for operations if they have stopped smoking for at least eight weeks, and will be breathalysed before referral for surgery.
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has attacked the plans, which they say are “discriminatory” and go against the fundamental principles of the NHS. Ian Eardley, Senior Vice President of the RCS calls for an “urgent rethink” of policies.
The CCGs have responded saying, “This policy is designed to improve patient safety and outcomes, both during and immediately after non-urgent surgery. No financial savings are expected as a result of these measures. We do however hope to improve the long-term health of our residents through the targeted stop-smoking and weight-loss support on offer to patients”.