Trust defers surgical referrals for patients to lose weight and stop smoking

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 28 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4792
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Referrals for elective surgery in parts of Hertfordshire have “dropped dramatically” since doctors in charge of commissioning started to tell obese patients and smokers that they need to lose weight or see a smoking cessation counsellor before their name is added to the waiting list for a range of operations.

The move to introduce mandatory lifestyle advice before surgery for obese and smoking patients was made in April and initially applied only to orthopaedic surgery. However, the scheme will be extended to cover all elective surgical procedures over the next couple of months.

Under the initiative all patients who smoke or have a BMI over 30 and need joint replacement surgery were first referred to a …

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