Getting fit for surgery


Between October 2017 – 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 routine surgery.

Thank you again to everyone who took part in our consultation. To find out what people told us, please see the consultation summary below.

We are now supporting smokers and patients who are obese to lose weight and/or stop smoking before non-urgent hip and knee, general and gynaecological operations.

In November 2017, we introduced a scheme to ask patients who smoke or have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above (an obese body weight) to try to stop smoking and/or lose weight for a period of three months’ ‘health optimisation’ before they are referred for non-urgent hip and knee operations.

Following our public consultation, the CCG Board approved the recommendation to roll out this scheme to other types of routine surgery. As of 9 July 2018, this scheme now also applies to patients who smoke or are obese who need non-urgent general or gynaecological surgery, unless exclusion criteria apply.

What the public think about our scheme

We consulted with the public from October 2017 – January 2018 to find out what people thought of our plans. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared their views with us.

To find out what people told us, please read our consultation summary or full consultation report on the right hand side of this page.  A summary of the public’s feedback has been included in a report, with recommendations for how the scheme could work, and this was presented to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Board for approval at the end of March 2018.  The Board approved the recommendations set out in the report which you can download from the right hand side of this page.

Please note, this information can all be made available in a range of languages, large print, Braille, or on CD/tape. To request an alternative format, please email or call 01225 831 800.



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).