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People living in Bath and North East Somerset are invited to help shape new plans to tackle obesity and smoking, by encouraging patients who need routine surgery to quit smoking and/or lose weight beforehand.
The proposals for a new ‘health optimisation’ scheme will see smokers receive help to quit, and obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above supported to lose weight, before their surgery. Studies show that patients who succeed in adopting a healthier lifestyle have a reduced risk of complications during and after their operation, recover more quickly and experience long-term health benefits.
The scheme is in line with NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (BaNES CCG) goal to support everyone to make healthier lifestyle choices and reduce preventable ill-health.
Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director at the CCG and local GP said; “We want to make sure patients are in the best possible health before they have an operation.
“Stopping smoking and achieving a healthy weight before routine surgery helps limit avoidable complications, improves surgical outcomes, aids the recovery process and can improve the patient’s wellbeing as they get better faster. Their stay in hospital may also be shorter. There are also long-term health benefits for those who don’t smoke and are a healthy weight.”
People in B&NES with osteoarthritis 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 this November, patients with a BMI of 30 or above, and those who smoke, will be encouraged to try to lose weight and/or stop smoking for a period of up to three months, before they are referred for physiotherapy and surgery.
The CCG plans to introduce a similar scheme for other types of non-urgent surgery in the New Year and patients who smoke or have a BMI of 30 or above, 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. The CCG is keen to understand the needs of people who may be affected by this and invites B&NES residents to visit banesccg.nhs.uk to find out more and complete our survey.
The CCG is working closely with health and care partners across B&NES to develop the new scheme. Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health at Bath and North East Somerset Council said; “We know that the point of referral to surgery is one at which people are particularly aware of their health, and how their lifestyles affect it for good or ill. We propose to use this opportunity, and the lead up time to major operations, to support patients in making changes that will bring long-term benefits, often far greater than those of the operation itself.
“Of course it can be very difficult to quit smoking and lose weight, but we have plenty of resources and advice available to help patients work towards their goals.”
To take part in our consultation, please visit this page of our website.