1766 York patients denied surgery because they are overweight?

A report to a council meeting next week reveal how many patients in York have had elective surgery delayed because they’re overweight.

The Vale of York CCG’s “Health Optimisation policy” started in February 2017. Patients seeking operations but who had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 faced possible delays.

There was a long list of procedures that were not affected by the policy.

The CCG said it had learned from elsewhere that implementation of this policy could contribute to confined financial management while providing the opportunity for improving the health of the population.

Other claimed that the policy was driven by cost cutting rather than patient welfare.

The criteria used was If a patient’s BMI>=30 their surgery if delayed/deferred until the following was achieved:

  1. Their BMI is <30
  2. They’ve lost 10% of their weight
  3. They’ve not achieved a or b but have waited 12 months since initial assessment.

Since its inception of Health Optimisation in February 2017 the Referral Support Service have sent out 1,766 letters for patients that exceed BMI criteria. Not all of these had to wait before joining the a waiting list.

The CCG has claimed some anecdotal evidence that patients have reported to their GPs that as a result of losing weight, in accordance with the policy, the pain they were previously suffering from had dissipated. Some patients did not therefore require surgery.

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