Sunday, 9 August 2009

NHS patients denied op that helped celebrity Fern Britton

HUNDREDS of dangerously overweight patients are being denied obesity ­surgery on the NHS … because they are not fat enough.

In direct contravention of official guidelines, up to half the ­primary care trusts in England are denying seriously obese patients surgery.

The National ­Institute for Clinical Excellence has said all patients with a body mass index of 40, a figure gained by measuring weight and height, are ­eligible for weight-reducing ­surgery, such as gastric bands.

This was the procedure that helped former This Morning host Fern ­Britton lose over 5st. In the wake of her success there has been a 40 per cent increase in patients seeking the ­surgery over the past three years.

Now, in a bid to curtail numbers, many primary care trusts are demanding that patients have a BMI of at least 45 or 50 before they will be ­considered for surgery. Many doctors in the ­obesity field say this is ­short-sighted, with some ­warning it could ­condemn many patients to death.

Professor John Baxter of the British Obesity Surgery Society said: “This is outrageous. The Nice guidance had defined for everyone who should be getting this surgery.

“Patients with a BMI of 30-40 are considered seriously obese so Nice chose the upper limit of 40. Anyone with a BMI of 40 would definitely ­benefit from surgery.

“To make the new target 50 is quite unreasonable.

“Patients’ lives will inevitably be at risk if they don’t get surgery.”

Full article at Sunday Express