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Exercise can help improve outcomes of operations, NHS body tells patients

By Deven Pamben    29 Nov 2016
72 per cent of those given green 'prescriptions' noticed positive changes to their health

An NHS body has told obese patients to lose weight or face delays in having non-emergency surgery, arguing that eating healthily and taking exercise can make a ‘real difference’ to the results of operations.

Patients who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above will have to either lose weight or wait 12 months before having elective surgery. They will have to reduce their BMI to less than 30 or lose 10% of their body weight.

New criteria also relate to smokers, who will have to quit two months before surgery or wait six months for their procedure.

The new rules will be introduced in January by NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for patients in North Yorkshire.

Dr Shaun O’Connell, a local GP and a clinical lead at the CCG, said: “NHS Vale of York CCG has introduced new criteria which asks patients with a BMI of 30 or above to lose weight before surgery and those recorded as a current smoker to quit smoking for at least two months. Support and help to achieve this is also being offered.

“Eating healthily, taking exercise and stopping smoking make a real difference to health and to the result of operations. For this reason, we see this as a key time to discuss with patients the changes they could make to have a safe and successful operation and recover quickly.

“However there is no ban and no blanket policy – people who do not wish to access the support services or fail to meet the criteria will not be denied their operation, decisions about what is in the best interests of their health, will be made on a case-by-case basis.”

Local patients opting for elective surgery, but need to lose weight or quit smoking, will receive help and support information.

Clare Marx, President for the Royal College of Surgeons said: “It is absolutely right that the NHS looks at how it can support obese patients to lose weight, and smokers to stop smoking.

“However, attempting to ration services by simply banning these groups from having vital surgery for up to a year is the wrong approach and frankly shocking.”

Obesity  exercise  NHS  health 
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