GP leaders slammed the ‘rationing’ of NHS services and warned that the restrictions on access to care appeared to breach the NHS Constitution.
NHS England’s national commissioning criteria for bariatric surgery could prevent GPs from referring patients for bariatric surgery in line with NICE guidance.
The NICE clinical guideline Obesity: Identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in children, young people and adults was issued in November 2014.
It recommends bariatric surgery as a treatment option for patients with obesity if they ‘have a BMI of 40kg/m2 or more’ or a BMI ‘between 35kg/m2 and 40kg/m2 and other significant disease’.
It adds that ‘all appropriate non-surgical measures have been tried’ and the patient ‘has been receiving or will receive’ intensive management in a ‘tier three’ service.
The NICE guidance does not impose any time restrictions on access to care. But NHS England’s commissioning policy stipulates that the patient must have ‘received and complied’ with a tier three or four weight-loss management service ‘for a duration of 12-24 months’ in order to qualify for bariatric surgery. It also dictates that the patient must have been morbidly obese – BMI 40 or higher – ‘for at least five years’ to be eligible for the potentially lifesaving treatment.
Full story at GP Online 10 June 2015