Intended for healthcare professionals


Smokers and overweight patients are denied surgery, royal college finds

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 22 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2335
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Over a third of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England are restricting access to routine surgery such as hip and knee replacements until patients stop smoking or lose weight, a report by the Royal College of Surgeons has found.

The college said that policies to deny or delay access to surgery for smokers and overweight patients contravened national clinical guidance, and it urged the government to clamp down on the restrictions.

The report compared the commissioning policies of CCGs in England with guidance produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the college, and surgical specialty associations.1 It found that one in three (34%) of the 200 CCGs that responded to a freedom of information request had at least one policy of blocking smokers or overweight patients from being referred for routine surgery, on the …

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