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Discuss The Policy Of The Nhs Refusing To Treat Obese Patients.

1927 words - 8 pages

"Some Hospital Trusts refuse surgery to patients with certain conditions like obesity putting the onus on the patient to change their behaviour first. Given that the National Health Service has finite resources, evaluate the extent to which this can be regarded as an acceptable policy "The UK is facing an obesity 'epidemic', part of an increasing worldwide problem. One in four adults and almost one in five children are obese and if current trends continue this is set to increase to almost half of all adults. The estimated cost to the NHS is £5bn a year with the cost to double by 2050 3.In response, some NHS Primary Care Trusts have begun to restrict, or consider restricting, access to treatment for obese patients. The Royal College of Physicians admits that health care professionals faced with obese patients find that there is "often no multidisciplinary service" to tackle the cause of the problem 1. Is it justified to refuse treatment, specifically surgery, if it has no other nationwide options in place; would prevention be more effective; or does the NHS have the right to refuse help to patients who have not taken adequate care of their own health?Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index of between 30 and 40 and to be considered morbidly obese a BMI of over 40. 5. Obesity is not conducive to a healthy mind and body and the implications are far ranging; the complications of obesity can lead to many cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a reduction in life expectancy. 6 Some studies have suggested obesity and common mental health disorders are interlinked proposing those who are obese may be more likely to suffer from depression7. The annual cost of obesity to the UK economy as a whole, £15.8bn, 4 further infers that the consequences of obesity are not merely physical. Those who are obese and therefore unable to work may not be contributing to the national purse and demanding more from the welfare budget. The social stigma, community exclusion and effect on future generations are less easy to calculate.Local authorities are responsible for health care budgets and the NHS in their constituency. At a local level the NHS is run by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and as of April 2013, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that are quasi-autonomous and thus availability of funding and treatment vary across the country. 19The restrictions for obese patients are not uniform nationwide. Some PCT's have restricted access to fertility treatments to patients with a high BMI. IVF is an elective procedure 18 which, although not medically necessary, is available at the discretion of local CCGs. IVF is not always successful and costs the NHS £5000 a cycle. Patients are asked to cease smoking before treatment begins and it follows that is reasonable to limit access to obese patients too. However, it is not so clear-cut if treatments that are medically necessary, urgent or life-prolonging surgery should...

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