Doctors to breathalyse smokers before allowing them NHS surgery

Smokers in Hertfordshire are to be breathalysed to ensure they have kicked the habit before they are referred for non-urgent surgery.

The measures have been brought in by East and North Hertfordshire clinical commissioning group (CCG) and Hertfordshire Valleys CCG, which together are attempting to save £68m.

They said the changes were being brought in after 85% of people who responded to a public consultation agreed that smokers should be required to quit before being referred.

The proposals, revealed by the Health Service Journal, require smokers to have given up for at least eight weeks. They will have to prove this by undergoing a breath test, which will check for levels of carbon monoxide.

The CCGs also require obese patients to reduce their weight by 10% over nine months or reduce their BMI (body mass index) to less than 30, whichever is greater, before being referred for non-urgent surgery.

Full story in The Guardian, 18 October 2017