Getting fit for surgery


Between November and early January 2018 we consulted on proposals to support  patients who smoke or have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above (an obese body weight) to try and stop smoking and/or lose weight before their (non-urgent) operation.

We will share this feedback and how it has helped inform our plans in March 2018.


Support for patients who need a non-urgent hip or knee operation:

Patients who need a hip or knee replacement already go through a six week programme of physiotherapy and physical exercise to help them get fitter for their operation.

From November 2017, patients who smoke or have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above (an obese body weight), are now encouraged to try to stop smoking and/or lose weight* for a period of up to three months, before they are referred for physiotherapy and surgery.

*Patients will be encouraged to try and reduce their weight by five per cent. For example, if you weigh 95kg/15 stone, this would mean losing 5kg/11 pounds. You can use this calculator to work out five per cent of your current weight.

Find out more about BMI in our ‘Why losing weight before an operation is important’ factsheet. Your GP can help you to work out your BMI, or you can use the BMI healthy weight calculator.

Plans to extend the scheme in 2018:

This year, we are planning to introduce this scheme for other types of non-urgent surgery and patients who smoke or have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above (an obese body weight), will be encouraged to try to stop smoking and/or lose weight for a period of time, before they are referred for non-urgent operations.  Our public consultation on these proposals has now closed and we will share the feedback and next steps in early March.

Our consultation is now closed.

What happens next?

  1. We will review all of the feedback we get from the public and use this to shape the scheme and make sure it benefits as many people as possible.
  2. We will share public feedback and plans for the new scheme in early March 2018.

If you have any questions about this survey, please email or call 01225 831800.

Patients who have a healthier lifestyle have a reduced risk of complications during and after their operation, recover more quickly and experience long-term health benefits.

Research shows:

  • Smokers are 38 per cent more likely to die following surgery than people who have never smoked.
  • Patients who are classed as having an obese body weight, are at increased risk of infection after surgery or of developing breathing problems during operations.

As an NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), we have a responsibility to support everyone to make healthier lifestyle choices and to prevent people from becoming ill. One of the ways to improve health and wellbeing across Bath and North East Somerset is to increase the number of people accessing services to help them stop smoking, lose weight and stay healthy.

Being referred for surgery can often be a time when people become very aware of their health and how their lifestyles can affect it. By introducing such a scheme, we are proposing to support patients in making changes that will bring long-term benefits, often far greater than those of the operation itself. For example, stopping smoking and losing weight reduce the risk of someone developing heart disease and cancer.

Losing weight can also have the added benefit of reducing the need for surgery, if a person sees such an improvement that they decide they no longer need an operation.

Support that is available

We know it can be very difficult to quit smoking and lose weight, and there are resources and advice available to help patients work towards their goals. Please see our factsheets on support that is available to help people lose weight and stop smoking.

For more information, please read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).