Devon smokers and obese face routine-operation ban

Image caption The Care Commissioning Group says the move is necessary to save money

Smokers and the morbidly obese will be denied routine surgery until they quit or lose weight, in a money-saving move by a Devon NHS group.

The GP-led Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says the measures are "urgent and necessary".

The group says it is facing a £14.5m deficit and needs to reduce costs.

Rebecca Harriott, the Devon CCG chief officer, said it would be prioritising services in the NHS Constitution.

The group says hernia treatment, botox injections and cataract operations are also under review.

Ms Harriott said: "We must act to protect essential services through our busiest winter months and ensure that care is there for our patients when they really need it.

"The CCG is working up a series of measures to prioritise those patients most in need, while at the same time, increasing efficiency in the wider system - and the CCG itself."

Proposed changes

  • Requiring morbidly obese patients to lose weight prior to routine surgery
  • Requiring smokers to quit for at least six weeks prior to routine surgery
  • Introduce criteria-based approval for routine procedures such as hernias, botox injections and cataracts
  • Reduce unnecessary consultant to consultant referrals
  • Suspend treatments where there is little or poor evidence of outcomes

Ms Harriott said: "To meet the challenge of prioritising patient need while at the same time meeting our control total, the governing body will be asked to temporarily change how we work.

"We are intending to split our management and administration resource between 'business as usual' and 'in-year priorities'."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites