New policy in UK denies nonurgent surgery to overweight patients, smokers

A controversial new policy introduced in the U.K. prohibits patients from undergoing nonurgent surgery if they are obese or have smoked in the last eight weeks, according to a report from The Telegraph.

Smokers and obese patients will be denied operations until they are able to lose weight or stop smoking, according to the policy crafted by clinical commissioning groups under the National Health Service, the U.K.'s public health system. Patients who are smokers will be breathalyzed before they can get a referral, and patients with Body Mass Index of 30 or more will be required to lose 10 percent of their weight in nine months. Patients who are more obese, with BMI over 40, will be required to lose 15 percent of their weight before surgery, according to the report.

The goal of the policy is to hold patients responsible for their own health, free up limited healthcare resources, and improve patient safety and outcomes, according to the report.

The policy has already drawn criticism, particularly from the Royal College of Surgeons. The surgical association called the policy discriminatory and called for NHS to revisit the decision.

Read the full story here.  


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