Slimming club help for NHS obesity

DOCTORS in Suffolk are to send seriously overweight patients to a slimming club after new figures showed obesity is costing the NHS £17.5 million in the county, it can be revealed today.

DOCTORS in Suffolk are to send seriously overweight patients to a slimming club after new figures showed obesity is costing the NHS £17.5 million in the county, it can be revealed today.

The NHS will pay for 12 sessions for each person referred to the weight-loss organisation and argue the move made economic sense.

Health professionals say obese people suffer from health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems.

The scheme has been trialled in mid Suffolk and was billed such a success it will now be rolled out across the rest of the county.


You may also want to watch:


So far, 17 practices in east Suffolk have taken up the offer and it is expected that others will do so. The scheme is also accessible through four practices in the Waveney PCT area and it will be available in the west of the county from early October.

It follows successful schemes piloted by Stow Health and Combs Ford surgeries in Stowmarket.

Most Read

Norman Foster, acting consultant in the public health team with Suffolk East PCTs, said the venture made economic sense as obesity costs an average PCT around £3.5m a year -£17.5 m across Suffolk.

He said: “We know that obesity is actively detrimental to people's lives - they do not live as long and do not enjoy the same quality of life.

“Obesity is estimated to directly cost a PCT £3.5m a year, in extra visits to the GP, physiotherapy treatment, clinicians, seeing the nurse, as well as from people having heart attacks and needing inpatient treatment, which is very expensive.

“Patients have responded excellently to this idea. At the end of the course all those people who have taken part fill in a questionnaire and the vast majority are saying what a good idea this is and how much they enjoyed it.

“The initiatives that work are the ones that people enjoy and going to a slimming class is a social occasion for people as well.”

In the pilot scheme, which sends people to Slimming World groups, he said most people who went on the course stayed on it and stuck with it after the subsidised course. Almost half of people going on the course for the 12 weeks lost at least 5pc of their body weight.

The PCTs say that they are now talking to other commercial slimming organisations with a view to offering patients choice.

WEBLINKS:

www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk

www.slimming-world.com

Should taxpayers cough up for sending overweight people to slimming clubs? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter